Axing of Deputy Mayor of Calderdale role moves a step closer

The Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale Coun Marcus Thmpson and Nicola Chance Thmpson with their deputies Coun Chris Pillai and Beverley Krishnapillai.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale Coun Marcus Thmpson and Nicola Chance Thmpson with their deputies Coun Chris Pillai and Beverley Krishnapillai.

The role of Deputy Mayor of Calderdale could cease to be in 2020, if councillors agree.

A number of choices aimed at generating essential budget savings to help Calderdale Council balance its books were discussed at an exempt item on Cabinet’s agenda when it meant this week, but the decisions have now been released.

Full Council will be asked to approve deletion of the Deputy Mayor’s role from council year 2020-21 and Cabinet approved other measures to save cash which will have a more immediate effect.

From April 1 this year the council will cease to print council meeting agendas and papers and a affected staff and Trade Unions will be consulted over the proposed loss of one full time post in relation to the council’s Scrutiny work.

Head of Legal and Democratic Services Ian Hughes and Cabinet member for Resources, Performance and Business Change, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) will also look at the service structure for the council’s Scrutiny function.

Together they represent a £100,000 annual saving for the council from 2020-21 with a partial saving of around £60,000 in the upcoming year 2019-20.

Coun Scullion had presented a report setting out how the council would deliver savings in Democratic Services to meet its budget savings requirements, in line with a modernisation agenda which still reflects the importance of effective and efficient democratic services.

She told Cabinet these would be achieved by a shift towards digital democracy, by reducing inefficient processes and by focusing the important civic role of the council on the role of the Mayor as first citizen.

Against a backdrop of almost ten years of budget reductions, Democratic Services had been a consistent focus of proposals from members and the public had also focused on these during consultations.

In terms of efficiencies and savings the service had seen less change in how they had operated than most other areas of Council service delivery, councillors were told.

Liberal Democrat group leader Coun James Baker (Warley) said the paperless process was good. Reducing the number of Scrutiny Officers would help save funds, but there would be less capacity for policy development, he said, and asked if it would it be possible to look more at the grading of the three officers rather than reducing to two

Coun Scullion said members were only seeking permission to consult on this and they would look further at all alternatives.

Councillor Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) highlighted that there were some members who did not use IT equipment and they relied upon paper reports.

Councillor Scullion said she had taken account of the points raised. Leader of the Council Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said there needed to be a change in culture.