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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The introduction of new legislation has given the Council the opportunity to take a fresh look at the way it is governed - and for you to comment on the proposals. Two forms of council leadership are being considered.

All local councils in the country are required to review their executive decision-making arrangements in time for the next local elections, which is may 2010.

You have 2 choices;

Leader
The Leader would be responsible for all executive functions, and would decide which of these functions were going to be delegated to other Cabinet members, local committees or council officers. The Cabinet would be selected by the Leader and not by the whole Council as at present.

Another change to the current arrangements is that the Leader would be selected by elected Councillors for a period of four years at the first meeting of the Council after the borough's public elections.

Mayor
Under the elected Mayor option, people in Haringey would vote for a Mayor who would hold office for a period of four years. Once elected the Mayor would be responsible for all executive functions and would decide which of these functions were going to be delegated to other Cabinet members, local committees or council officers. The Mayor would select a Cabinet.

Put your preference at the council's survey.

The survey closes on 10 July 2009.

Tags for Forum Posts: Council Leadership

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Question is; Could anyone put themselves forward for selection by the public to be voted in as Haringey's Mayor?
But we have Boris. Boris should be responsible for planning, then we get joined up thinking.

Split Haringey in half, there's obviously something wrong with this west+east thing.
The GLA is an interesting model for this because they have elected members from different parties sharing out the roles of responsibility. Something I'd like to see at council level. Currently we have one party in cabinet at the council which just seems plain daft when many votes have gone to other parties at election time.
Waste of money in my eyes, and seems to be the case where ever this sort of mayoral position has been installed, certainly from the folk of my home town of Stoke. We have Bonkers for wider London, why do we need another expense?
Current arrangement is very cosy; one party with all cabinet positions doesn't encourage debate or different thinking on policy and spend decisions.

In the recent elections 2 in every 5 people who bothered to vote went for smaller parties and not the big three. Don't parties such as the Greens and those that voted for them have a right to be represented at cabinet level? The Greens got a significant increase in votes after all.
I'm quite interested in this form of electoral reform, although I think the evidence is patchy for how successful elected mayors have been: Stoke-on-Trent abolished theirs and there are campaigns in several of the authorities that adopted an elected mayor for a referendum to abolish them. However, the example of Hackney, which has been remarkably successful as a council since getting a directly elected mayor might suggest it has some use.

On some of the issues which have been raised here - anyone could put themselves forward for the mayorality and just under a third of the authorities with a directly-elected mayor have independents or a minor party mayor. Moving to a directly elected mayor, though, wouldn't change the party composition of the Cabinet unless the mayor wanted it to be changed; where mayors have been elected from a political party they have also chosen their Cabinet from that party.

In terms of the GLA comparison, the issue is that the GLA possesses no executive powers - its committees are analagous to Parliamentary Select Committees (which are also cross-party), in that their role is to scrutinise the work of the executive. Both Boris and Ken appointed their own people to actually carry out their executive roles. There are roughly analagous committees in Haringey already that are cross-party: the General Purposes Committee, the Planning Committee and so forth. In fact, these committees probably have more powers than the GLA's committees do.

In terms of planning powers, the Mayor of London already possesses significant powers on planning developments, but giving all of that power to City Hall would remove it from local control, which I think would be a bad development. A better improvement would be to for central government to allow local councils greater discretion over what they wanted (or did not want) in their local area: for example, it is actually legally quite difficult for councils to refuse betting shop applications.

In terms of changing the Cabinet to be a reflection of all the votes across the borough, this would be a significant change in British political practice, and to my knowledge does not happen anywhere except in councils where there is no overall control - it becomes far harder to hold a party to its manifesto pledges if it doesn't control all the executive positions. That said, it was one of the recommendation of a DCLG White Paper in 2006 that councils might consider moving to all elected Cabinets, but I don't know what became of the recommendation.

Since the Greens are not presently represented on the Council at all, though, getting them into the Cabinet would require significant legal changes, to either the electoral system or to allow non-councillors to serve as Cabinet members.

Lastly, on the east-west thing, I couldn't disagree more: Haringey does have a strong split down the middle, politically, but there is a great deal in common across the borough in terms of social and political issues, and these can be dealt with most effectively by keeping the council area together.
Thanks John for all the info.

Seems the main parties at the moment are at least making some noises towards looking at other ways or systems of local representation. Not sure what if anything is going to come out of the ideas being batted around but, seems to me first past the post doesn't reflect current voting patterns clearly enough.

A Mayor would be useless if working completely against a local cabinet system. It is a tricky role but with the right person could be beneficial, as long as the person was working for the needs of the borough and not their ego!
What? The problems and issues in Highgate are a far cry from those in Seven Sisters. As far as I know having Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham all in one borough has done nothing to reduce the difference in life expectancy between the west and the east.
I have long held the view that the current cabinet system leaves all residents who do not vote for the majority party effectively unrepresented. For instance, there is no Lib Dem on the cabinet in Haringey at present despite their making up nearly 50% of the council, so this is an effective dictatorship by a minority (fewer voters in total voted for Labour than for other parties) with little chance for opposition scrutiny. The Leader who is also a councillor elected by other councillors will serve to make this approach "stronger" in the terms of the briefing paper produced by Yuniea Semambo. I interpret "stronger" to mean even more dictatorial and less representative of a range of views. So I would plump for the Mayoral system, so that we could elect a council of whatever ilk, and a mayor with some character and opinions, hopefully of a different political party to the majority on the council, and a cabinet with representatives from different parties.

btw, the East/West split is real, certainly in voting terms - the West is almost entirely Lib Dem, the East almost entirely Labour.
Good points. Fairer reflection of voting patterns surely makes sense. But voters on HOL don't seem to give a damn. Maybe they've given up on 'democracy'!
How do you know voters on HOL don't give a damn, Matt? Seems a bit of a sweeping statement.
Through lack of debate on this very issue in this posting Liz... which is a serious proposition and the best we've had yet for changes to the local power structure.

What's your view on the two proposals Liz?

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