Lib Dems to take an axe to bureaucracy in Liverpool

Our proposals will take power from bureaucrats and politicians based in the City Centre and move power out to the districts and communities of Liverpool

Liverpool’s Liberal Democrats will take an axe to political posts and bureaucracies should they gain power through the election of the City Mayor on May 7th.

As part of our programme of letting local people comment and help us create our policies in the run up to the May 7th local lections we are publishing our manifesto section ion hpw we believe that that local democratic structures should be run.

Our headline proposals include:

  • Within 24 hours of taking the position we will change the name from Elected Mayor to Council Leader; halve the salary for the post; halve the number of officers servicing the position and delete all references to special funds currently held and given in the Mayor’s name which will in future be designated as Council Funds.
  • We will immediately commence discussions with the Government to delete the role of Elected Police Commissioner and include it in the work of the Liverpool City Region Mayor.
  • We will harness the intellectual power of our 3 universities; businesses, public sector organisations and people to create an “Innovation and Future Proofing Task Force” which will look at changes in IT; artificial intelligence; communications; new products and materials
  • The creation of 5 powerful district-based Committees to oversee performance and use local knowledge to promote local actions of the Council and its partners.

Further details can be obtained from our deputy leader Cllr Andrew Makinson at Andrew.makinson@liverlibdems.org.uk or 07939 220336

The draft document which is being circulated for discussion with the people of Liverpool is appended below:

Taking an axe to the bureaucracies of Liverpool

Liverpool Liberal Democrats are in the process of developing our manifesto for the local and city region elections next May. Liverpool will elect a Regional Mayor, a Police Commissioner; a City Mayor and 30 councillors.

Unlike other political parties we do not believe that we know everything and should decide everything. In each part of Liverpool there are people who know more about their topics than we can ever do as generalists. We are circulating this draft section to people and inviting them to comment about our principles and ideas. We would be pleased to come and meet with you and your organisation to discuss them or just to receive your thoughts. I am dealing with this part of our manifesto. You can contact me at Andrew.makinson@liverlibdems.org.uk or 07939 220336. I look forward to hearing from you.

Cllr Andrew Makinson,           Deputy Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

Our Overriding Principle:

To ensure that the views of the citizens of Liverpool are adequately and continually reflected in the elections to the variety of bodies within the local authority sphere and are easily accessible for scrutiny and challenge by residents, businesses and organisations.

Our Overriding Policy:

To slim down the number of politicians and layers of political control within the Liverpool City Region and create a lean and responsive political and officer structure by eliminating the posts of Elected Police Commissioner and City Mayor and allowing residents enhanced access to the democratic process outside the election period.

Background:

Liverpool will be a unique place on May 7th as it is the only part of the Country where there will be simultaneous elections for 4 levels of local government.

The ballot papers will be issued for:

City Region Mayor covering 6 Boroughs with the Liverpool City Region

Elected Police Police Commissioner covering the 5 Boroughs of the former Merseyside County area

City Mayor covering all 30 wards of Liverpool

Ward Councillor for each of the 30 Liverpool wards.

In addition, there are a series of ineffective scrutiny and coordination committees and bodies created from amongst the elected Councillors for 5 or 6 Borough!

We wish to cut out the waste and duplication and associated bureaucracy and spend money on front line service sand not politicians and bureaucrats.

Our Proposals:

  1. We will abolish the role of Elected City Mayor which we believe is superfluous and adds nothing to the Leader/Cabinet method of Government which exists in most other councils including all of those in the rest of the Liverpool City Region.
  2. Within 24 hours of taking the position we would change its name to that of Council Leader; half the salary for the post; halve the number of officers servicing the position and delete all references to special funds currently held and given in the Mayor’s name which will in future be designated as Council Funds
  • At a later stage we would commence a full consultation with the people and businesses of Liverpool as to the total system of local and regional government that they would like to see.
  • We will immediately commence discussions with the Government to delete the role of Elected Police Commissioner and include it in the work of the Liverpool City Region Mayor. We would then work with the Government to bring Halton into this set up instead of being subject to the Cheshire Police and the Cheshire Chief Constable.

We would establish a Police Liaison Committee composed of the Cabinet Members responsible for community safety within the LCR boroughs with additional members, if necessary, to ensure proportionate political representation. This committee would scrutinise the work of the Police and would work with the Police to generate strong local police actions to strong neighbourhood led community safety activity.

  • The role of City Region Mayor is enshrined in law as is the scrutiny arrangements to oversee them. We would prefer a small directly elected and therefore directly accountable system to be put in place.

Recognising that the vast majority of people are unable to recognise the Elected Regional Mayor or what that person may or may not have done we would work with the Government to change the scrutiny arrangements for the City Region. We note that the scrutiny committee has often been inquorate which has delayed the initiation of a number of projects.

We would ensure that the Regional Mayor held regular public and open meetings in each of the 6 Boroughs of the LCR at which they could be questioned by councillors, the public, businesses and organisation.

In addition to the councillor membership of the Scrutiny Committee relevant organisations and businesses people would be invited to take part in the scrutiny process in areas such as transport, climate change and trade.

  • The role of the 90 Liverpool councillors would be changed to ensure that they are able to hold the Cabinet to account and to actively promote policy changes on behalf of their areas.

The number of central scrutiny committees would be reduced to 2:

  • Overview and Scrutiny. This would receive regular reports on the performance of the City in comparison to LCR neighbours and core cities. It would also deal with items called in from the Cabinet.
  • Health which would undertake its statutory duties of overseeing health service delivery in the City.

The remaining scrutiny functions and proactive policy development would be undertaken by 5 district committees composed of the 18 councillors for their area based, wherever possible in a co-terminous way with the newly emerging Primary Care Networks.

  • An Innovation and Future Proofing Task Force

We will harness the intellectual power of our 3 universities; businesses, public sector organisations and people to create an Innovation and Future Proofing Task Force which will look at changes in IT; artificial intelligence; communications; new products and materials and green issues to provide an input into the work of:

  • The public and voluntary sectors and especially the Council to enable them to use all new technologies to help deliver improvements in the daily lives of our citizens
  • Businesses to develop new products and services which will enable our City to take advantage of new technologies and products to sustain and create high quality employment;
  • The community to enable them to take advantage of new technology in their day to day lives.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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