Thanet district Council press release
Proposals are being put forward that will see more elected Members becoming more involved in the decision making process, along with changes to the portfolios of existing Cabinet Members.
The plans, which will go to the meeting of Full Council on Thursday 26 February for a final decision, would see one of the existing Cabinet portfolios split into two and the introduction of Lead Members to support Cabinet Members. There will also be changes to the names of each Cabinet portfolio and to the areas that each member covers.
The Regeneration and Economic Development portfolio will be split, with Deputy Leader Cllr. Roger Latchford taking charge of economic development, regeneration, the Margate Renewal Partnership, asset management, strategic planning and the Port of Ramsgate.
Taking charge of the other half of the portfolio will be Cllr. John Kirby, who will be responsible for planning enforcement, planning applications, licensing, land charges, Ramsgate Royal Harbour Marina and general estate management. In order for Cllr. Kirby to take on this new role, he will have to resign his current position as Chairman of the Council, which will mean councillors will have to elect a new Chairman at the Full Council meeting on 26 February.
Other Cabinet positions are proposed as follows:
Cllr. Martin Wise Finance (also includes human resources, policy and performance, procurement and audit)
Cllr. Jo Gideon Customer Services (includes IT services, revenues and benefits and the Thanet Works programme)
Cllr. Zita Wiltshire Community Services (includes council housing, strategic housing, housing need and homelessness, housing renewal, private sector housing, community safety and environmental health)
Cllr. Shirley Tomlinson Environmental Services (includes waste collection, recycling, street cleaning, public toilets, parking, parks, allotments, cemeteries and crematorium, sports development, Sport 4NRG, arts development, museums, foreshores, Thanet Coast Project, indoor and outdoor leisure, play services, tourism, events and Environmental Action Programme)
These changes will bring the Cabinet portfolios in line with each of the council’s five main service areas and follow a senior management restructure, agreed at November’s Cabinet meeting.
To support each Cabinet portfolio, the introduction of two lead members per portfolio is also being proposed. These members would be available to attend meetings as required and to help out when Cabinet Members are away on holiday. They would be regularly briefed by the Cabinet Members on issues and developments in their portfolio.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr. Sandy Ezekiel, said: “These proposals will bring a range of benefits to the council and I think that’s something that we can all agree on. With the amount of work that the council’s doing on regeneration and economic development, particularly in the current climate, it seems logical to split the workload of this portfolio between two experienced members. These proposals will also help to develop new members’ skills and get them more involved in the decision making process. That’s something that hasn’t been as easy to do under the Cabinet system. When the council had a number of committees, it was much easier for backbench members to get more involved and by introducing the idea of lead members, that’s what we hope to achieve in the future. It will also give us more resilience, particularly when people go on holiday, as they’re entitled to and there’s also an element of planning for the future, as none of us will go on forever.”