Luton Borough Council held its Annual Council meeting on Tuesday of this week and it is an indication of how quickly you can adjust to things that I had completely forgotten that it was happening.
The Annual Council is the meeting that appoints councillors to the various committees and positions for the coming year. Now that I don’t have to go along to these things I can just catch up on the details when the reports appear on the Council’s website. But for anyone who’s interested but not keen to go to that much effort here are the key results.
The new Mayor of Luton is Cllr Don Worlding and the Deputy Mayor is Cllr Mohammad Ayub.
The Leader of the Council continues to be Cllr Hazel Simmons.
Cllr Robin Harris also continues as Deputy Leader and finance portfolio-holder.
The Council has appointed 8 further members of the Executive making a total of 10 executive positions. I’ve thought for a long time that the Executive in Luton has too large a membership, with the portfolios often being very badly defined, but Labour like to spread the work, and the allowances, around. These Executive members are:
- Cllr Roy Davis – Regeneration
- Cllr Dave Taylor – Environment
- Cllr Tahir Khan – Children’s Services
- Cllr Mohammed Ashraf – Public Health
- Cllr Tom Shaw – Housing
- Cllr Shelia Roden – Adult Social Care
- Cllr Joan Bailey – Social Justice
- Cllr Tafheen Sharif – Community Safety
This Executive looks very much like the outgoing Executive. The only newly elected councillor on it is Tafheen Sharif and most of the members have the same or similar responsibilities to what they had last year. So if anyone was expecting the election to bring a change in the approach to how the council is run they will be sorely disappointed.
Needless to say, all the above are Labour councillors.
Outside the Executive the other significant appointment is that of Liberal Democrat councillor Doris Hinkley to be the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board. I won’t go into the whole painful saga here, but after the Council’s scrutiny process was rescued from complete collapse a couple of years ago by establishing new arrangements it was agreed that the body that oversees the scrutiny of policies and decisions should be chaired by an opposition councillor. This is in line with best practice. Given the Labour Group’s tendency to arrogance and high handedness there was a worry that their increased dominance in the council would lead them to abandon that agreement and appoint one of their own. They have form on this in the past. So it is positive and welcome news that this has not happened and I know that Doris will do an excellent job.
However, I am aware that there is a big row going on about appointments to the police authority which I will say more about in another post.
Within the Liberal Democrat group I have been informed that Cllr David Franks will continue as Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Council, and so is leader of the opposition, and the Deputy Leader for the year will be Cllr Martin Pantling.
On a personal note, the Liberal Democrat group have kindly, and on their insistence and not mine, chosen to continue with me as their appointee on the board of Luton Culture. Apparently you don’t have to be a councillor to have the role. This is something which I am immensely grateful to them for as I have found it such a fulfilling organisation to be involved with.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.