A cabi­net filled with all tal­ents

Halifax Courier - - The Week In Court -

No one po­lit­i­cal party has a ma­jor­ity of coun­cil­lors on Calderdale Coun­cil. Now with 25 coun­cil­lors (one short of a ma­jor­ity), Labour is the largest group and has been run­ning the Coun­cil for a year with sup­port from the Con­ser­va­tives, since they ended the agree­ment with us in May 2013. But now we’ve sup­ported the Con­ser­va­tives (and In­de­pen­dent) to take con­trol from Labour. For very good rea­sons, we think.

I at­tended part of the meet­ing of Calderdale Coun­cil’s new Cabi­net re­cently. I lis­tened to them start­ing to get to grips with their new roles. It made me won­der what a Cabi­net would look like if it was made up of the most talented coun­cil­lors from which­ever po­lit­i­cal party – a “fan­tasy” Cabi­net (like a fan­tasy foot­ball team).

If I could choose, per­haps it could in­clude the fol­low­ing.

For chil­dren’s ser­vices, I’m wait­ing to see Coun Colin Raistrick fol­low up the good work he did as scru­tiny chair. As an In­de­pen­dent, he’s good at ask­ing pen­e­trat­ing ques­tions.

Look­ing af­ter the land and build­ings, de­vel­op­ing roads and trans­port, and sup­port­ing busi­nesses and the econ­omy has be­come a big job. The new split between two Cabi­net mem­bers looks like a bet­ter bal­ance al­though Coun Jen­nie Lynn (Labour) for skills and from Cen­tral Hal­i­fax seemed to be a good ap­point­ment.

The for­mer Cabi­net mem­ber for adult, health and so­cial care, Coun Bob Met­calfe (Labour), has done a good job in work­ing well with the Direc­tor in re­shap­ing ser­vices so that they are more per­son­alised and imag­i­na­tive, with more in­vest­ment in ex­tra care hous­ing and the shortly to open new in­ter­me­di­ate care unit (like a mod­ern con­va­les­cent unit), and work­ing closely with health ser­vices.

Per­haps it also goes with­out say­ing that for­mer Lib­eral Demo­crat Coun Pauline Nash seemed to me to have a good grasp of com­mu­nity ser­vices from her long (and wide) ex- pe­ri­ence both in youth ser­vices but also from liv­ing in and know­ing Calderdale.

Per­son­ally, I was pleased when I was asked to chair the Health and Well­be­ing Board be­cause part­ner­ship work­ing, bring­ing the ma­jor public or­gan­i­sa­tions to­gether for the good of lo­cal peo­ple, has to be a high pri­or­ity.

But what’s the best way of lead­ing the coun­cil? Who’s the best per­son to do it? Should lo­cal peo­ple be able to di­rectly elect the leader? When last asked, about half of lo­cal peo­ple who re­sponded to the sur­vey were in favour of be­ing able to elect the leader/Mayor. I won­der who they would choose now!

My picks would in­clude Coun­cil­lors Colin Raistrick, Pauline Nash and Bob Met­calfe

Hal­i­fax Town Hall

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