Leader of West Northamptonshire Council announces creation of new assistant cabinet member roles
'I remain certain that the more people you involve in any decision you take, the better that decision is.'
The new leader of West Northamptonshire Council revealed at last night’s (May 20) first annual council meeting that a number of assistant cabinet member positions have been created.
Councillor Jonathan Nunn was elected leader of the new unitary authority at the meeting held at Northampton Saints’ Franklin’s Gardens.
Addressing the council after his election was confirmed, he explained the new positions are given as a result of specialist knowledge and experience.
This is in exchange for a firm commitment from the person in the role to support the cabinet area and portfolio area with their time and specific responsibilities.
Cllr Nunn said: “I remain certain that the more people you involve in any decision you take, the better that decision is. That’s a principle I have lived by for some time.
“And we have much talent, both among our group, throughout the officers and we have many new and many experienced members and we need everybody to help to make that happen.
“I’ll just tell you that that’s why we are creating a position called assistant cabinet members. These are serious.
“Whilst not formally recognised, in our governance, our constitution and not receiving any further allowance, these positions are given as a result of specialist knowledge and experience in exchange for a firm commitment to support the cabinet area and portfolio area with their time and specific responsibilities.
“We are asking these assistant cabinet members to ensure that they continually maintain alignment on key issues with their portfolio holder, so that when any officer or any member is speaking with an assistant cabinet member, you can be certain that you are speaking, perhaps by proxy, with a cabinet member themselves.
“As such, we are asking them to be treated as if they are expressing views with the authority of the relevant cabinet member.
“And I’ve just got to give you a couple of examples because these are some fantastic people.
“I will tell you very briefly about Dan Lister who is a school governor at more schools than I can list and is actually on various government advisory boards for education.
“We would miss using that knowledge to our peril and similarly Louise Fowler who is a school teacher in the same area.
“James Hill, enormous planning experience and we know that houses in multiple occupancy will be an important issue across Northampton and in other areas too such as Daventry and so on as well.
“I will tell you also some of the progress that’s being made through Mike Hallam and Colin Morgan who are already as climate assistant cabinet members arranging the climate summit that we promised in our manifesto and will be bringing to our next council meeting on July 15 a motion to ensure that this council declares, at the earliest opportunity, a climate emergency consistent with its predecessor councillors.
“That is a marker we need to put down really quickly.
“Alison Eastwood, as one last example I’ll give you, as arts and culture with a high degree of professional proficiency in that area, is already booked to meet the key cultural partners around the west and I’m delighted that she is moving on with that work.”