At the Spelthorne Borough Council AGM on the 18th June, the Liberal Democrats led the calls for a renegotiation of the terms of reference for Committees for the ensuing year. This was done to ensure that the Council is considering constitutionally sound papers before members are asked to vote.
The voting on the night asked that all decisions relating to committees be considered as a whole which was something that the Liberal Democrats could not support. The group have raised concerns for the allocation of seats based on mathematical calculations of proportionality which proves to be irregular in places. Furthermore, the group believe that it is right and proper that a new chair of Members' Code of Conduct be introduced.
Commenting, Cllr Richard Dunn, Shadow Spokesperson for Corporate Governance said: "It is a shame that we had to take the drastic steps in the meeting last night which were not in our interests. Prior to the meeting, our group leader had submitted a number of concerns that were not resolved. Therefore, we asked that this be considered at a later date when we have more clarity.
"In relation to the Independent Member as Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee, the issue we raise is not of a personal attack, but ensuring that Spelthorne is committed to best practice. The Local Government Ethical Standards encourage that the independent person be elected for 2 years, renewable once. In Spelthorne's case, we have far exceeded this time frame and we should strive to do better to ensure transparency and accountability as the Government's Committee on Standards in Public Life suggests".
The Liberal Democrats will discuss the business with council officers and all group leaders to resolve the situation to ensure accountability and fair distribution reaches a consensus as it should.