I’ll be interested to see how the new council works out. The council is a lot more evenly balanced now, and as a result the committee memberships will be more evenly balanced – to the point where Tories won’t be able to miss any meetings in case they risk being in the minority in committee meetings.
We have already seen that the cabinet has been reduced by one post, a long overdue step. I always thought that deputy leader should be a role that one of the other executives took on rather than a separate portfolio. There might be scope for further changes, but that was the obviousone. I’ve always thought that the whole idea was really a way to give Bert Crane a vote on the executive and benefit from his vast experience, without wearing him out by giving him too many responsibilities. The surprise is that the Tories didn’t change that a lot sooner, what with them not having a Bert Crane.
Apart from those larger, more structural changes, there will be the impact of some of the new faces – although some of them like Chris Mullins and Bill Ward are old faces returning after an absence. Peter Smith in Ifield will be worth watching, but I’m particularly interested in my old ward of Broadfield South.
I visited our new councillor for Broadfield South the other day, and realised something which I knew already but had not though about: he is going to bring an engineer’s perspective to the council. Colin has spent his life working on machines at work and at home. If something doesn’t work he fixes it, and if it does work he keeps it that way or makes it work even better and he will keep going until he succeeds. It will be fascinating if he takes that approach to the council.
From all those years of being married to a councillor, mayor and MP he will know a lot about the political side of things but I still think he is going to find himself wanting to get the metaphorical spanners out to some of the council’s departments when he gets onto scrutiny panels. Certainly continuous improvement should be second nature to him.
Early days yet, but I think the council meetings are going to be a bit more lively now. I might even go to a couple.