A cabinet filled with all talents
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