Greens set out way forward on Council governance consultation

A consultation on the future governance of Liverpool is running until June, rather than the promised referendum. Today, Liverpool Green Party is urging people across the city to take part, and opt for a more democratic system to hold councillors to account and encourage cross-party working.

Tom Crone, Green Group leader on Liverpool City Council said: ‘We are very critical of this consultation. Once again, the people of Liverpool are being denied a proper say on how we are governed.’

Cllr Crone urged voters to ditch the failed Mayoral model in favour of a more democratic committee structure.

In 2012, while voters in cities across the country were asked if they wanted an elected mayor, Liverpool Labour decided they knew best and imposed the mayoral model. The result was a decade of chaotic mismanagement. Now the city council is having to work round the clock trying to fix the mess left behind. 

This consultation does not have the same democratic authority as a referendum which takes the decision away from the people, allowing voters an opinion only. 

Cllr Crone pointed out: ‘We championed holding a referendum and would much prefer to trust the people of Liverpool to have been able to use that referendum to decide how their City should be run.

‘As it stands, the responses to the consultation will need interpreting, and that will still leave the final decision with the Labour Party.’

Liverpool Green Party is strongly in favour of adopting the committee system since it involves many more councillors in decision making and policy development. 

Under the current system even most Labour councillors have very little to do with real decision making. It is only Cabinet members who have real executive powers. Other democratically elected councillors are simply shut out. 

Even within the Cabinet, the Mayor sets the agenda and can predetermine outcomes. Power is really concentrated in a very small number of individuals. 

The Mayoral model led to poor decision making, not least because it fails to make use of the skills and experiences of all the 90 councillors elected to represent their communities.

The committee system, as well as sharing out power more fairly, also encourages much more constructive cross party working.

Cllr Crone added: ‘The public rightly complains about “yah-boo” politics and it is shocking how often the debates in the Council Chamber descend into pointless political point scoring because decisions are really taken elsewhere.

‘A committee system means different parties having to sit down together and really decide how best to deliver for the people of Liverpool. Councillors would soon realise that they agree on a lot, while learning to respect distinctive perspectives.

‘The imposed Mayoral system opened the door to the shame of the Joe Anderson’s years, and slammed it shut on transparency and democratic accountability. It’s time to ditch the personality politics and let the people back in.’

Liverpool Green Party recommends voters select the option “By one or more committees made up of elected councillors” on the consultation. We believe this change would make the council more accountable, more democratic and more effective.