Councils singing sea shanties?

The Labout goverment introduced The Local Government Act 2000  which required local government to move to an executive based system with a leader and cabinet or directly elected mayor. Some smaller authorities were allowed to opt out and run a modified system however Broadland District Council, like most other areas, is now run on the cabinet system. Many opponents say that this system is undemocratic as it gives power to a small band of people and leaves backbenchers with few powers and in many cases only the ruling party is represented in the cabinet.

Back in July 2010 Eric Pickles was interviewed about the system:

"Iain Dale: The cabinet system in local authorities is very unpopular with a lot of people. If local authorities wanted to change that and go back to the committee system, what would your reaction be?

Eric Pickles: Fine. We will be putting something into the local government bill to let them do that. I don’t care how things are organised. They can have it on the basis of a committee system, on a cabinet basis, on the mayoral system. If they want to introduce it on a choral system with various members of the council singing sea shanties I don’t mind, providing it’s accountable, transparent and open. That’s all I need to know."

However, nothing has happened yet and in the case of BDC the cabinet is made up of the following people (details too of their political party, ward and portfolio responsibility within the cabinet together with their home village/area - as shown on BDC's website ):

Stuart Clancy - Con (Taverham South) Economic Development - lives in Felthorpe
Kim Davis-Caydon – Con (Thorpe St Andrew SE) Partnerships and Change Management – lives in Mangreen
John Fisher – Con (Thorpe St Andrew SW) Environmental Policy Development - lives in Thorpe St Andrew
Roger Foulger – Con (Drayton South) Housing and Environmental Services - lives in Sprowston
Alan Mallett – Con (Coltishall) Finance – lives in Coltishall
Andrew Proctor – Con (Brundall) Deputy Leader and Planning Policy and Conservation - lives in Brundall
Simon Woodbridge – Con (Gt Witchingham) Leader and Policy – lives in Ringland

Their responsibilities are laid out in Broadland District Council's Constitution (para 16.1 onwards) together with a list of responsibilities delegated to officers and in some cases themselves too.

So much power in the hands of so few people. Having attended numerous council meetings as members of the public we have noticed that the views of other councillors are often over-ridden or ignored - the views of opposition parties likewise. All in all it doesn't seem a very democratic way of running a local council but it ensures that the aspirations of a few can make irreversible changes if they so choose.


  1. Rackheath Rebel2 March 2011 at 11:40

    Did you know that members of the cabinet got paid £5150.00 last year on top of their basic £3426.00 allowance.

  2. Rackheath Resident3 March 2011 at 15:00

    The sooner we get rid of this undemocratic Cabinet system the better as these few members never listen to the Residents. Are you kidding that they are each getting £8,500 from us this year. Hope they are setting a good excample by taking a cut in their expenses this year.

  3. Well these seven people are definitely controlling Broadland District Council and they are all professional Tory Councillors.
    Do they have residents interests at heart?
    Cllr Davis Claydon put forward a pay rise for staff at the budget meeting which was approved. To be paid for out of reserves. What sort of message is that for residents? Does she really live in South Norfolk?
    Cllr Clancy is a twin hatter BDC and NCC
    Cllr Fisher is a twin hatter BDC and City Council
    Cllr Proctor ia a twin hatter BDC and NCC
    Cllr Mallet is a twin hatter BDC and BA
    Foulger, Mallet, Proctor and Woodbridge are all on the board of the GNDP.
    They have the arrogance to claim it is democratic.


    • Norfolk’s total population change over the 25 years to 2033 would be made up of
    approximately 221,700 gain from net in-migration and around 2,800 loss from
    natural change (more deaths than births)