Cllr Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North on Uttlesford District Council and former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more


by Alan Dean on 22 September, 2020

The Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) election manifesto in 2019 promised: “We will review and improve or replace the current Cabinet system to make the District Council fairer and to ensure all that all voices are heard.” This matters. It goes to the heart of local democracy; that people vote for what they’re promised and can expect it to be delivered.

A full seventeen months after being elected to power, R4U has finally published a Corporate Delivery Plan containing timed commitments and resources to make them happen. Pathetically, the Cabinet review item has no finish date and no resource commitment. Power corrupts; Cabinet Members like their sense of importance. So much for pre-election commitments from opportunists!

Read what my Lib Dem colleagues, Councillors Ayub Khan and Geoffrey Sell, think about R4U’s foot-dragging:

“Fine manifesto words, which we agree with. But what is the reality”, says Stansted Lib Dem councillor, Geoffrey Sell? “The recommendation at last week’s meeting of the Governance Review Working Group was to stop work until Spring of 2021 on reviewing the current Cabinet system. A reason given for this was that the Corporate Plan had allocated no resources for the review.”

Lib Dem councillors Ayub Khan and Geoffrey Sell both expressed their opposition and labelled it “a failure of political will”!

Said Cllr Khan, (Lib Dem, Stansted South & Birchanger): “If you think something is important the necessary resources will be found”.

The two Liberal Democrat councillors fortunately managed to secure the support of colleagues from other parties. They are now recommending the continuance of the work of the Governance Review Group.

Cllr Khan added “Now is not the time for R4U to put this on hold. We have to look at how we can do better as a Council in communicating with and being accountable to local residents.”

Cllr Sell called upon the R4U administration to honour its manifesto pledge and to commit the necessary resources so that the review can go ahead.

Let’s hope the foot-dragging is now at an end. Councils like Basildon have updated their decision-making system overnight. What’s wrong with R4U-controlled Uttlesford.

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