The Council needs to go a lot further for democracy

City of York Council leader James Alexander recently suggested that opposition councillors should be able to question him from the floor of full Council meetings. The suggestion is a good one, but also should include time for questions directly from electors.This should not replace the option for written questions in advance, which gives officers time to prepare authoritative replies that can be formally recorded in the public minutes.

However sincere the leader may be in a webcast political exchange, this is not a substitute for researched answers.

Greens oppose Labour proposals to end the practice of petitions coming to full council and feel that petitions with more than 1,000 signatures should trigger a debate ending with a vote rather than an inconclusive and rather token discussion.

A return to the committee system in place of Cabinet diktat would provide better opportunities for the public and opposition councillors to influence the shape of policies as they are made.

This would be better than the current situation where Labour over-rules any “call in” of contentious decisions and allocates itself the chair of many of the so called “scrutiny committees”.

Andy D’Agorne
Green Party Councillor for Fishergate

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