York’s Green Group has submitted a motion for the Full Council meeting on 14th July calling on all councillors to support a change in how the council is run.
The motion asks the council to prepare for a public referendum to be held at the same time as the local council elections next May. The referendum would ask residents if they support a change away from the current system in which the council is run by a Leader and a limited number of Cabinet or Executive members, to a modern ‘Committee System’. This would mean that, unlike the current system, all councillors that residents have elected would be involved in decision making via public committees.
The motion asks council officers to provide residents with unbiased information on what the proposed changes would mean in preparation for the referendum. If approved the new system would come into place by May 2024, following further cross-party working and public involvement to agree the details of the new system.
Green councillor Denise Craghill, who is proposing the motion, says ‘A ‘committee system’ may not sound like the most exciting topic, but we believe it is time for all parties on the council to find a way of working more constructively together to tackle the big issues that we face.
Residents on the doorstep tell us that this is what they want to see and many councils around the country have already made this change. A committee system won’t stop all political disagreements, and nor should it, but it does mean that all important decisions are made in public committees following discussion by councillors of all parties – and all elected councillors take part in decision making.”
Green Group leader, Cllr Andy D’Agorne adds ‘York is a fantastic city with many advantages and opportunities, but we also face huge challenges including the Climate and Ecological Emergency and the current cost of living crisis. We have to find the most constructive ways of working across party political groups and with our residents to address these challenges together.
A move to a modern committee system would offer the opportunity to do this, whilst also providing options to include more public involvement in decision making such as more interactive public questions to the new decision-making committees. This motion is challenging all councillors to support greater collaboration.”