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Sutton Council switches to committee system to boost transparency and save money 27.03.12

A change in governance arrangements at Sutton Council is set to make decision-making more open and transparent and save taxpayers money.

The plans, which will give more councillors more of a say on important decisions, were approved by Sutton's Executive last night.

Under the plans the existing Executive system - a council leader, deputy leader and eight decision-making executive councillors - will be replaced by a new committee system.

Five new committees will be made up of cross-party, elected councillors from across the borough. The committees will each have a chair and decisions will be reached on a majority basis.

The committees, which will be launched in May, are:

· Strategy and Resources

· Environment and Neighbourhood

· Children, Family and Education

· Housing, Economy and Business

· Adult Social Services and Health

If approved by full council at its meeting in April, the councillors sitting on these committees, and the committee chairs, will be confirmed at the Council's Annual Meeting on 21 May.

Committees will be politically proportionate, to reflect Sutton Council's 43 Liberal Democrat and 11 Conservative councillors, and will meet in public every six to eight weeks.

The six existing local committees, which represent local areas of the borough, will remain, whilst the four existing scrutiny committees will be replaced by a single scrutiny committee which will be largely responsible for scrutinising the council's activities around health, crime and disorder and risk management.

Cllr Sean Brennan, Leader of Sutton Council, said: "Everyone is feeling the pressure of the economic downturn, including the council, so it's more important than ever that the decisions we make about how we spend taxpayers' money are as open and transparent as possible. By inviting more councillors, from both political parties, to play a role in making important decisions, we hope residents will feel that we're doing exactly that.

"It will also mean we can keep residents better informed, as the committees will all meet separately and will be able to discuss issues in public at greater length.

"Councillors' allowances will be frozen for another year, so by deleting the Executive roles, we'll be saving over £30,000 a year - this money will go straight back into funding council services."

Last updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2012

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