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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Fylde to abolish cabinet system following referendum

Voters have forced Fylde Borough Council to abandon its cabinet structure and adopt a committee-based system, following a local referendum.  [Fylde is up near Blackpool, Lancs]


Fylde residents voted in favour of changes in governance by 57.8% to 42.2%. The decision marks the end of a six-year campaign by the Fylde Civic Awareness Group (FCAG) who felt the current system excluded the majority of councillors from the decision-making process.

FCAG used new powers introduced under the Localism Act to trigger a governance referendum, with more than 5% of voters signing a petition for change in October 2013.

The council must implement the changes by May 2015.

Tracy Morrison, Fylde Council’s counting officer and director of resources, said: ‘The change will involve the council keeping its existing regulatory committees with the establishment of four new committees around the policy areas of tourism and leisure; operational management; health and housing; and finance.

‘Each committee will be appointed by the council and will consist of representatives of the elected parties in proportion to their numbers on the council.

‘Council officers will now start the ball rolling for the establishment of the committees in May 2015. The cabinet system will apply until then as the business of the council will have to continue to be conducted.’


I dont know how we came to have a cabinet rather that the traditional committees. Anyone remember so far back?

Tags for Forum Posts: LBH, cabinet, committees, democracy

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Yes, it came in after a new local government act introduced, if memory serves, early in the Blair government. By a minister called Hilary Armstrong, from the north east, a region of course famous for its spotless and non-partisan local government. It was touted to be going to promote lots of greater transparency and public interest in, and involvement with, local government - without any evidence or research base to back it up whatsoever. And indeed I have not noticed any noticeable improvement in said transparency or public interest or involvement in this borough ... rather the opposite. It cements party machines rather than individual conscience and accountability. So in conclusion Madam Chair, I would respectfully beg to move, that this Authority brings back committees forthwith! (And maybe even t'Aldermen and women, of which Haringey used to have one or two).

(And as a footnote for Clive I understand one expert legal opinion has said the cabinet system is incompatible with Haringey Council's sole trusteeship of Alexandra Palace charity)

Hi to friends in Harringay.

Straw Cat is spot on.

I might add that the 2000 Act fundamentally changed the nature of Local Government. It sought to have a select group of councillors lead their electorate, whereas the former committee system assumes a councilor will represent them. Big difference.  (If I'd have wanted to be led, I'd have joined the Army!)

The Fylde Civic Awareness Group (of which I am clerk) has campaigned for this governance change for the last 6 years since a big public meeting called for a return to committees after much dissatisfaction with Executive Governance.  We got nowhere until last year when the Localism Act  empowered us to petition for a referendum in which the people of Fylde have voted for change. We are the first group on the UK to do this, but the Campaign for Democracy in Canterbury District is hard on our heels and currently collecting signatures on their own petition, we've also had enquiries from Cardiff and Aylesbury.

If anyone is interesed, there are more details of our campaign on our website at


The other option included in the 2000 act was the directly elected mayors. This option has also been unpopular and troublesome. The only candidates that succeed are celebrities or comedians (e g Hartlepool).

So much so, that in 10 of the 11 cities forced to have a referendum on this option, it was rejected. Only Bristol approved it narrowly. In London four boroughs have opted for this and the initial winners have not been seriously challenged or, even accountable . Needless to say that three of the four are white men. So no improvement on diversity.

It seems to me that these ideas, like many other Blairite ideas, have not survived the test of time.

Kaushika takes over now.

(And as a footnote for Clive I understand one expert legal opinion has said the cabinet system is incompatible with Haringey Council's sole trusteeship of Alexandra Palace charity)

Thank you Straw Cat. Although I am not on the Council Committee known as the Trust Board, I cannot see that all Councillors, collectively, are not Trustees for Alexandra Palace. i.e. whether or not they sit on that Council Committee that for administrative convenience, is run on Local Government lines.

Councillor (Highgate Ward)

Liberal Democrat Party



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