Astonishing And Worrying – Rayleigh Councillors Kept Out Of The Council Cabinet

The Leader of The District Council , Terry Cutmore, has made some changes to the council cabinet.

You can find the full details on addendum 1 of this document here

However the new cabinet is as follows:

Leader- Terry Cutmore (Ashingdon and Canewdon ward )
Deputy Leader, and Planning and Transportation – Keith Hudson (Hockley Central ward )
Council Tax Collection, Benefits and Strategic Housing Functions – Malcolm Maddocks (Hockey West ward )
Environment – Michael Steptoe (Barling and Sutton ward)
Finance and Resources – Colin Seagers (Great Wakering and Foulness ward)
Leisure, Tourism, Heritage, the Arts, Culture and Business – Keith Gordon (Rochford ward )
Service Development/Improvement & Performance Management -Gill Lucas-Gill (Rochford ward )
Young Persons, Adult Services, Community Care and Well-Being, Health and Community Safety – Jo McPherson (Hawkwell North ward)

The most notable single change is that Mavis Webster has stepped down as Deputy Leader and left the cabinet.

However the biggest overall change is that there are now no Rayleigh councillors at all in the cabinet. And because the leader won’t allow non-members to speak, that means no Rayleigh councillor can take part when the the cabinet are discussing the really big issues.

Astonishing and worrying from a Rayleigh point of view.

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  • Not only that but it is bad from the other side as well.

    Rochford Ward (one of the biggest) only has one councillor who is fully representing Rochford the other two will have the significant time constraint of a cabinet portfolio. Whereas the people of Rayleigh get full time councillors.

    It does seem a baffling decision.

  • Is there any way this situation can be challenged?
    We are supposed to live in a democracy! How can “fair” decisions be made when committees are so one sided?
    Who makes these decisions, & who has the final word?
    To coin a phrase, “The people are revolting”. At least they should be!!!

  • Janet, the person who has the final say is Terry Cutmore, the leader of the council. He picks his cabinet, his decisions are merely noted by full council they cannot be overturned.

  • I am worried with the imminent conclusion of the core strategy that Rayleighs interests are to be ignored .Has the town council got a view? Of course Rayleigh district councillors will not be to blame as they will not be privy to any undemocratic decisions made in cabinet ! The town and rawreth should be very concerned .This really is a discrace.Perhaps there is a case to break away from Rochford and join with Wickford as had been mooted at the last reorganisation .Rochford would be swallowed by Southend ,they would soon find out about undemocratic decisions then !!!

  • Bryan- the leader is appointed by the council for a 4 year term. Terry’s term does not expire for another year…..

    Regarding the core strategy, that is likely to come to full council rather than the cabinet….

  • I think it would be good to have a non Conservative on there to ensure some healthy debate. Rob’s cuts both ways take is interesting. Slightly off topic but I am also concerned by how heavely whipped the Conservatives are. I understand the party line needs to be maintained, however they have a very large majority and matters do need to be fully debated in public.

  • Interesting that Cllr Hoy appears to have forgotten that he promised to act in the best interests of Rochford District residents AS A WHOLE, as do ALL RDC Members, when they accept election as Members. Furthermore, if I am correct in believing he is a former Labour supporter, was he so ‘concerned’ when so much of the UK Cabinet of the last Labour Government hailed from and represented Scottish constituencies and voted on purely English matters?

    Personally, I take very strong exception to the implicit inferences by both Cllr Hoy and Cllr Black that I, or any of my colleagues on the Executive, would fail to act in the best interests of RDC residents AS A WHOLE, whichever Ward we may be elected by or live in. Perhaps they should attend to any of their own NIMBYist tendencies before daring to level such undeserved slurs at others?

  • Colin, I remain concerned.

    The system imposed at the moment prevents ordinary councillors from speaking at cabinet meetings to contribute their local knowledge.

    The only councillors who can ever speak this year at cabinet meetings only represent the East area of the District (to use the new terminology of the area forums).

    So, three questions:

    How can the cabinet fully act in the best interests of the district as a whole when it denies itself local knowledge of the West area of the district during meetings?

    Why has the leader picked a cabinet that only has members from the East area? What makes the Rayleigh Conservative members unsuitable ? Health may be a factor for some, I know, but there are 12 of them.

    Why doesn’t the leader allow non-members to speak anyway? Most meetings of the cabinet are over in under an hour. You are hardly burning the midnight oil.

  • Perhaps Cllr Colin Seagers does not remember his history regarding the Labour government.

    I remember the Labour government proposing regional assemblies and fighting hard for those against the will of the other parties in government (especially the Conservatives) unfortunately this was rejected at a referendum so we of course accepted that decision. This means it was a Conservative led campaign against regional assemblies that won out against equal local representation.


  • Edit: whoops hit submit a tad early…

    Furthermore only 32% of our cabinet were Scottish and many of them had a mandate from English constituencies. This is evidently very different from the 100% Chris points out is true of Rochford District. And considering the current cabinet is comprised of nearly 80% millionairres, 13% women and only has one member from an ethnic minority; I think ours was not that bad (although there was lots of room for improvement). I refuse to have Labour Party members (former or otherwise) lectured by Tories on equality and representation.

  • Rob

    There was a Referendum in only one English region, the North East, and the people there rejected the idea of a Regional Assembly by a very substantial majority. I don’t think the North East could be considered a strong Conservative part of the country

  • Mr Brown – regarding your first comment, lot’s of people remember history, that’s why the Labour Party is not in power, thank god.

  • I never suggested that the region was a Tory one, and I know the referendum was lost heavily. However the Tories were heavily involved in the No campaign. So for Tories now to complain that the English do not have seperate assemblies (or assembly) is a bit rich.

    It is very interesting that neither of you commented on my second point. Fair representation does not appear to be on the Tory to-do list.

  • I would suggest that people are far more concerned about job security, crime, health and education than to worry about representation, Tory or otherwise. You seem to have a “them and us” standpoint that belongs to the 1970’s.

  • Rob

    You seem to be suggesting that a large number of Labour voters in the North East changed their minds as a result of the Tory-led NO campaign. I don’t think so.

    I am a bit surprised at your comment about Tories complaining about the lack of Regional Assemblies. They certainly do not feature in Conservative policy and I do not know any Tories who favour them.

    Regarding the make up of the Cabinet, I don’t think wealth or the lack of it matters in the least.

    Also, I don’t remember the Blair or Brown Cabinets being full of women or MPs from the ethnic minorities

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