A motion to Cambridgeshire County Council by Cllr Kilian Bourke yesterday, passed by all the minority parties acting together, marks the end of the Cabinet system that came into being under Labour’s Local Government Act 2000.
The Cabinet system has seen the Council Leader and a small group of executive councillors from the same political party group making all the big decisions about how the council spends taxpayers’ money.
In May 2014, this will cease and a committee system will take its place, with all councillors playing a role in council decision-making.
In yesterday’s debate, the Conservatives, who form the largest group on the council (32) but who lack the majority necessary to carry a vote, rejected the motion and proposed to keep the Cabinet system. The other parties (Lib Dems 14, UKIP 12, Labour 7, Independents 4) together carried the motion.
For legal reasons the change cannot happen until May 2014, so the Cabinet remains for one more year. The Conservative group won a three-way vote for the council leadership. The new Leader, Martin Curtis, appointed his Cabinet, all from the Conservative group.
The outcomes of Council votes are no longer predetermined. It should be an interesting year.