Grandee raises fears over Bradford Council's democratic process

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: CONCERNS: Councillor Baroness Margaret Eaton CONCERNS: Councillor Baroness Margaret Eaton

COUNCIL grandee Margaret Eaton has raised concerns about the authority's democratic process after a Labour carve-up of scrutiny committees.

Labour councillors made the controversial decision to chair most of the committees themselves, shortly after taking overall control of the authority in this year's local elections.

It prompted angry opposition parties to question how effective Labour councillors would be at holding their own bosses to account.

Now further concerns have been raised by Baroness Eaton (Con, Bingley Rural) at a meeting today of the Council's governance and audit committee, which makes sure the authority is being run by-the-book.

Baroness Eaton, a former leader of the Council, told the meeting she was concerned that "the majority of the scrutiny chairs are with the controlling group".

She said that "knowing the personalities involved", she didn't have any specific concerns about chairmen not being able to fulfil their roles properly.

But she said according to the Centre for Public Scrutiny - a charity set up to promote scrutiny, accountability and good governance in public bodies - it was "assumed that oppositions will chair scrutiny committees".

She said: "I wonder what real justification there is in not following that pattern? There might be one."

City solicitor Suzan Hemingway said there was no legal requirement for opposition members to chair the committees, and that the original aim of scrutiny had been to allow backbench councillors to question the decision-making Executive.

She said there was no reason why a backbench member of a controlling party could not do this, although she "could see why people would be uncomfortable with it".

She said: "I accept that there is a nervousness about it, because that is the obvious risk - that the effectiveness of it can be manipulated in a political way, and I absolutely understand that.

"To be fair, you are right, the personalities involved mean that they will not be manipulated in that way."

Guidance issued by the Centre for Public Scrutiny says in its view, "appointing minority party chairs helps to promote a non-partisan culture in scrutiny, and makes it more likely that scrutiny members (and chairs) will think and act independently".

But it said a survey last year found a fifth of councils instead appointed the chairmen in a way which reflected the political make-up of the authority, and this had "no appreciable impact" on the effectiveness of the scrutiny work.

Comments (19)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:04pm Fri 20 Jun 14

FinlandStation says...

Sorry I don't buy the reassurances.

Given the ever present suspicion of corruption which hangs over City Hall, such as the recent Paul Flowers affair and soft loans to sporting clubs, it would be better if the Scrutiny Committees were not only above reproach but seen to be above reproach.
Sorry I don't buy the reassurances. Given the ever present suspicion of corruption which hangs over City Hall, such as the recent Paul Flowers affair and soft loans to sporting clubs, it would be better if the Scrutiny Committees were not only above reproach but seen to be above reproach. FinlandStation
  • Score: 28

5:17pm Fri 20 Jun 14

pcmanners says...

As the Labour supporters in these threads keep pointing out the present administration at City Hall in anti-democratic. Conservatives should have both the Chairmanship and the majority on each of the Scrutiny Committees so that a proper watch can be kept on the Socialists. If the lefties are not kept in check they will ruin this city.
As the Labour supporters in these threads keep pointing out the present administration at City Hall in anti-democratic. Conservatives should have both the Chairmanship and the majority on each of the Scrutiny Committees so that a proper watch can be kept on the Socialists. If the lefties are not kept in check they will ruin this city. pcmanners
  • Score: 26

5:21pm Fri 20 Jun 14

bachtothefuture says...

pcmanners wrote:
As the Labour supporters in these threads keep pointing out the present administration at City Hall in anti-democratic. Conservatives should have both the Chairmanship and the majority on each of the Scrutiny Committees so that a proper watch can be kept on the Socialists. If the lefties are not kept in check they will ruin this city.
They already have.

Bradford finds itself at the bottom of every league table there is. The educational results are just the latest in a long line of abject failures. Clearly something is wrong with the present administration. We cannot have them marking their own homework.
[quote][p][bold]pcmanners[/bold] wrote: As the Labour supporters in these threads keep pointing out the present administration at City Hall in anti-democratic. Conservatives should have both the Chairmanship and the majority on each of the Scrutiny Committees so that a proper watch can be kept on the Socialists. If the lefties are not kept in check they will ruin this city.[/p][/quote]They already have. Bradford finds itself at the bottom of every league table there is. The educational results are just the latest in a long line of abject failures. Clearly something is wrong with the present administration. We cannot have them marking their own homework. bachtothefuture
  • Score: 23

6:36pm Fri 20 Jun 14

bluebluerobin says...

The Scrutiny Committees aren’t just for backbench Councillors to raise concerns, the public can use them also.

However, as we saw at Sty Lane, where only ten minutes speaking time was allocated to the objectors, Labour Group Chairman are more than willing to use their powers to disadvantage the opposition and ensure the Council gets the result it wants.

For this reason it is impossible to accept the view that the Labour Group chairmen will perform impartially. The Council should reverse this blatant gerrymandering immediately.
The Scrutiny Committees aren’t just for backbench Councillors to raise concerns, the public can use them also. However, as we saw at Sty Lane, where only ten minutes speaking time was allocated to the objectors, Labour Group Chairman are more than willing to use their powers to disadvantage the opposition and ensure the Council gets the result it wants. For this reason it is impossible to accept the view that the Labour Group chairmen will perform impartially. The Council should reverse this blatant gerrymandering immediately. bluebluerobin
  • Score: 21

7:27pm Fri 20 Jun 14

izzystillbreathing says...

You simply have to ask yourself, why did Cllr Green and his Labour supporters do this? Why go to the, not inconsiderable, trouble of changing the Council’s constitution so they could? As the article points out this is far from being the normal state of affairs and is not recommended best practice. The only answer that makes any sense is that Labour has something big it needs to hide.

I suppose we’ll just have to wait and find out what it is the hard way.
You simply have to ask yourself, why did Cllr Green and his Labour supporters do this? Why go to the, not inconsiderable, trouble of changing the Council’s constitution so they could? As the article points out this is far from being the normal state of affairs and is not recommended best practice. The only answer that makes any sense is that Labour has something big it needs to hide. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and find out what it is the hard way. izzystillbreathing
  • Score: 16

7:36pm Fri 20 Jun 14

BaildonGuy says...

City Hall used its powers of bureaucratic manipulation to effectively disenfranchise all the people in Baildon who signed the petition against Buck Lane.

With this kind of track record we should be very wary of Scrutiny Chairmen whose political allegiance lies with the ruling majority. City Hall always wants to get its own way. It treats any objections to its scheming as a battle of wills to be won by fair means or foul. Democracy never gets a look in. This is just another step down that rocky road.
City Hall used its powers of bureaucratic manipulation to effectively disenfranchise all the people in Baildon who signed the petition against Buck Lane. With this kind of track record we should be very wary of Scrutiny Chairmen whose political allegiance lies with the ruling majority. City Hall always wants to get its own way. It treats any objections to its scheming as a battle of wills to be won by fair means or foul. Democracy never gets a look in. This is just another step down that rocky road. BaildonGuy
  • Score: 18

7:45pm Fri 20 Jun 14

bcfc1903 says...

The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!!
The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!! bcfc1903
  • Score: -11

8:47pm Fri 20 Jun 14

FinlandStation says...

bcfc1903 wrote:
The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!!
I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic.

Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse.

People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.
[quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!![/p][/quote]I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic. Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse. People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism. FinlandStation
  • Score: 13

9:15pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Alhaurinrhino says...

Stalin is alive and well in Bradford, he just looks a plank these days with his earrings in.
Stalin is alive and well in Bradford, he just looks a plank these days with his earrings in. Alhaurinrhino
  • Score: 9

9:27pm Fri 20 Jun 14

baildongreen says...

Alhaurinrhino wrote:
Stalin is alive and well in Bradford, he just looks a plank these days with his earrings in.
Completely spot on.

I wonder if Cllr Green cleared his political shenanigans with the National Party first. Frankly I can’t see them being too pleased with what is clearly an anti-democratic power play that would never receive sympathetic press coverage. This is the sort of thing that used to go on in Eastern Germany.

What is his nibs is so worried about? Possible unsavoury revelations in the forthcoming Paul Flowers autobiography?
[quote][p][bold]Alhaurinrhino[/bold] wrote: Stalin is alive and well in Bradford, he just looks a plank these days with his earrings in.[/p][/quote]Completely spot on. I wonder if Cllr Green cleared his political shenanigans with the National Party first. Frankly I can’t see them being too pleased with what is clearly an anti-democratic power play that would never receive sympathetic press coverage. This is the sort of thing that used to go on in Eastern Germany. What is his nibs is so worried about? Possible unsavoury revelations in the forthcoming Paul Flowers autobiography? baildongreen
  • Score: 8

9:28pm Fri 20 Jun 14

OLDLAD says...

At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.
At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want. OLDLAD
  • Score: 6

9:35pm Fri 20 Jun 14

SurprisedByJoyce says...

OLDLAD wrote:
At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.
Leaving aside all the political considerations, this just feels wrong and against the principles of natural justice. It’s a sad commentary on Bradford that we have people in power who are prepared to do this kind of thing.

I hope Baroness Eaton manages to raise the profile of this scandal sufficiently for Councillor Green to have to change his mind. I think she should start a petition. I would definitely sign it.
[quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.[/p][/quote]Leaving aside all the political considerations, this just feels wrong and against the principles of natural justice. It’s a sad commentary on Bradford that we have people in power who are prepared to do this kind of thing. I hope Baroness Eaton manages to raise the profile of this scandal sufficiently for Councillor Green to have to change his mind. I think she should start a petition. I would definitely sign it. SurprisedByJoyce
  • Score: 8

9:46pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Grumpygirl says...

OLDLAD wrote:
At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.
If you look at the voting pattern on a ward by ward basis Labour can hardly claim to represent all of Bradford. The support base is demographically remarkably narrow, but unfortunately very secure. This allows Cllr Green to act with impunity and force through any dictatorial measure he fancies. Like bcfc he is not a good advertisement for one nation socialism.
[quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.[/p][/quote]If you look at the voting pattern on a ward by ward basis Labour can hardly claim to represent all of Bradford. The support base is demographically remarkably narrow, but unfortunately very secure. This allows Cllr Green to act with impunity and force through any dictatorial measure he fancies. Like bcfc he is not a good advertisement for one nation socialism. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 4

9:56pm Fri 20 Jun 14

OLDLAD says...

Grumpygirl wrote:
OLDLAD wrote:
At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.
If you look at the voting pattern on a ward by ward basis Labour can hardly claim to represent all of Bradford. The support base is demographically remarkably narrow, but unfortunately very secure. This allows Cllr Green to act with impunity and force through any dictatorial measure he fancies. Like bcfc he is not a good advertisement for one nation socialism.
Never said they represent all the people of bradford, what I said was they were democratically elected by the people of bradford, It is just like the government you vote in will always do what they want and bugger the rest.
[quote][p][bold]Grumpygirl[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.[/p][/quote]If you look at the voting pattern on a ward by ward basis Labour can hardly claim to represent all of Bradford. The support base is demographically remarkably narrow, but unfortunately very secure. This allows Cllr Green to act with impunity and force through any dictatorial measure he fancies. Like bcfc he is not a good advertisement for one nation socialism.[/p][/quote]Never said they represent all the people of bradford, what I said was they were democratically elected by the people of bradford, It is just like the government you vote in will always do what they want and bugger the rest. OLDLAD
  • Score: 5

10:07pm Fri 20 Jun 14

bcfc1903 says...

FinlandStation wrote:
bcfc1903 wrote:
The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!!
I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic.

Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse.

People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.
Cheers, I thought you'd never catch on, I take it you're a relation to our great ex leader Mr Pickles. Don't take it personally, I know the truth hurts but suck it up, you'll get used to it eventually.
[quote][p][bold]FinlandStation[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!![/p][/quote]I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic. Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse. People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.[/p][/quote]Cheers, I thought you'd never catch on, I take it you're a relation to our great ex leader Mr Pickles. Don't take it personally, I know the truth hurts but suck it up, you'll get used to it eventually. bcfc1903
  • Score: -7

10:17pm Fri 20 Jun 14

FinlandStation says...

bcfc1903 wrote:
FinlandStation wrote:
bcfc1903 wrote:
The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!!
I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic.

Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse.

People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.
Cheers, I thought you'd never catch on, I take it you're a relation to our great ex leader Mr Pickles. Don't take it personally, I know the truth hurts but suck it up, you'll get used to it eventually.
Hardly. You can't have been paying attention. I'm usually described as a domesticated Marxist. Which isn't really Mr. Pickle's bag.
[quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]FinlandStation[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!![/p][/quote]I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic. Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse. People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.[/p][/quote]Cheers, I thought you'd never catch on, I take it you're a relation to our great ex leader Mr Pickles. Don't take it personally, I know the truth hurts but suck it up, you'll get used to it eventually.[/p][/quote]Hardly. You can't have been paying attention. I'm usually described as a domesticated Marxist. Which isn't really Mr. Pickle's bag. FinlandStation
  • Score: 5

10:24pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Grumpygirl says...

OLDLAD wrote:
Grumpygirl wrote:
OLDLAD wrote:
At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.
If you look at the voting pattern on a ward by ward basis Labour can hardly claim to represent all of Bradford. The support base is demographically remarkably narrow, but unfortunately very secure. This allows Cllr Green to act with impunity and force through any dictatorial measure he fancies. Like bcfc he is not a good advertisement for one nation socialism.
Never said they represent all the people of bradford, what I said was they were democratically elected by the people of bradford, It is just like the government you vote in will always do what they want and bugger the rest.
Point taken. Look at the Government's NHS reforms.
[quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Grumpygirl[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]OLDLAD[/bold] wrote: At the end of the day they were voted in by the people, called democracy, so don't complain when you let the lunatics take over the asylum and they do what they want.[/p][/quote]If you look at the voting pattern on a ward by ward basis Labour can hardly claim to represent all of Bradford. The support base is demographically remarkably narrow, but unfortunately very secure. This allows Cllr Green to act with impunity and force through any dictatorial measure he fancies. Like bcfc he is not a good advertisement for one nation socialism.[/p][/quote]Never said they represent all the people of bradford, what I said was they were democratically elected by the people of bradford, It is just like the government you vote in will always do what they want and bugger the rest.[/p][/quote]Point taken. Look at the Government's NHS reforms. Grumpygirl
  • Score: 2

2:57am Sat 21 Jun 14

Papa Smurfs Wig says...

bcfc1903 wrote:
The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!!
Oh it's Dave Green behind the ears.
[quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!![/p][/quote]Oh it's Dave Green behind the ears. Papa Smurfs Wig
  • Score: 0

10:09am Sat 21 Jun 14

bcfc1903 says...

FinlandStation wrote:
bcfc1903 wrote:
FinlandStation wrote:
bcfc1903 wrote:
The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!!
I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic.

Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse.

People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.
Cheers, I thought you'd never catch on, I take it you're a relation to our great ex leader Mr Pickles. Don't take it personally, I know the truth hurts but suck it up, you'll get used to it eventually.
Hardly. You can't have been paying attention. I'm usually described as a domesticated Marxist. Which isn't really Mr. Pickle's bag.
Really :-)...Well you're not trying hard enough are you.

As for the Conservatives bleating, they really don't have a leg to stand on do they after Mr Pickles and his cronies decision on the Mayor, as I said, pot, kettle, black!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]FinlandStation[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]FinlandStation[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bcfc1903[/bold] wrote: The Conservatives have no room to talk when looking at what previous Tory administrations have got up to. Pot, kettle, black...ring any bells!!!![/p][/quote]I see sophisticated political debate is really your forte. I take it here that you are pointing an accusing finger at Baroness Eaton. You have also given away your political allegiance, so your blind adulation of all that City Hall does is now understandable, if a little pathetic. Two wrongs don't ever make a right; and even if a previous Tory administration weren't perfect then that is no excuse for bad behaviour by the Labour Group. In fact quite the reverse. People are looking to see if Labour is fit for office again. The behaviour of the local party can have as much influence on the way the swing voters behave as policy announcements from Millbank. Your cat-calling won't be helping any more than the subversion of the Scrutiny Committees. People like you are a millstone round the neck of progressive socialism.[/p][/quote]Cheers, I thought you'd never catch on, I take it you're a relation to our great ex leader Mr Pickles. Don't take it personally, I know the truth hurts but suck it up, you'll get used to it eventually.[/p][/quote]Hardly. You can't have been paying attention. I'm usually described as a domesticated Marxist. Which isn't really Mr. Pickle's bag.[/p][/quote]Really :-)...Well you're not trying hard enough are you. As for the Conservatives bleating, they really don't have a leg to stand on do they after Mr Pickles and his cronies decision on the Mayor, as I said, pot, kettle, black!!!!! bcfc1903
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree