Let’s make the Town Hall the heart of democracy in Liverpool
As many of my regular readers will know I have, for a long time, been concerned at the huge democratic deficit in Liverpool. The Mayor is simply not accountable to anyone. I have spoken to our 2 Lib Dem Mayors and they regularly hold sessions in a variety of ways to ensure that they can be held to account. Crucially so do the Labour Mayors that I have spoken to. The only Mayor in the Country (and there are 15 of them) who cannot be challenged in any way by councillors or the people of their area is the Mayor of Liverpool.
To try and counter that I have done two things:
Firstly I have asked for the council to properly compare itself with other councils so we can see just how good (or bad) its performance is. Frankly both Councillors and Officers are scared to be compared with other authorities. They hide behind claims that the comparators are not there and it would be expensive to do. Neither of these ‘reasons’ is true. That motion will be considered by the Audit and Governance Committee.
I have also tabled a much wider resolution to the Constitutional Issues Committee. This will meet on 21st December. The full agenda is set out on the council’s website. The resolution is set out in full below.
I would love to hear what you think. In the meantime I can assure you that openness, honesty and transparency will be a major feature of the manifesto which we are preparing for the Mayoral and Local elections next year.
5. Motion – Democratic Deficit in Liverpool by
Councillor Richard Kemp CBE
To consider the terms of the following Motion, as submitted by Councillor
Richard Kemp CBE that –
“Being concerned at the lack of scrutiny of the Mayor and senior management in Liverpool City Council, this Committee recommends to Council that:
1. Standing Orders be varied to provide that following the Mayoral Announcements & Updates agenda item at Council meetings that the Elected Mayor should receive and answer questions on that statement
• Opposition Group Leaders;
• Any Councillor;
2. The Mayoral Select Committee be reconstituted with a composition to be determined by the Council and the terms of reference to include:
(i) Considering in detail any Mayoral announcements made at Council;
(ii) the performance of the Council against other comparable authorities;
(iii) the Mayoral Pledges made at the preceding election;
(iv) Motions from Council Members relating to strategic city wide matters for which the Mayor has direct responsibility; and
3. The Mayor be requested to hold a monthly one hour session in the Town Hall at which the Mayor would answer questions from any member of the public or local business or organisation wishing to raise issues about the work of the Council or any other body which would impact on the welfare of the people of the City.”