Questions to Caerphilly County Borough Council’s leader will no longer be referred to the relevant cabinet member for a response, following a vote in a full council meeting.
The leader of the council’s Independent group, Cllr Kevin Etheridge sought to clarify what the council’s constitution says on questions to the leader through a motion to the full council.
The council’s constitution says: “A member of the council may ask the Leader or the appropriate cabinet member any question upon an item of the report of a committee when that item is under consideration by council.
“A member of the council may ask the leader any question on any matter in relation to which the council has powers or duties or which affects the area of the council or any part of it or the inhabitants of the area or any part of it if at least five clear working days’ notice in writing of the question has been given to the chief executive.”
The motion sought to clarify whether the leader was allowed to defer questions to the relevant cabinet member if they so wished.
Currently, Ynsyddu ward councillor Philippa Marsden is the leader of the council.
The motion, which was backed by full council, means councillors can now ask questions to the leader without it being deferred to the relevant cabinet member. The motion also stated that councillors would be allowed to ask a supplementary question.
Speaking on the motion in full council, Cllr Etheridge, leader of the Independent group, said: “I did ask a question to the leader under the relevant section of the constitution.
“I got told the question should be put to the cabinet member.
“I quoted the motion but was told by the chief executive that as it referred to the portfolio of the cabinet member it must go to the cabinet member.
“I then asked for supplementary.
“Then got told I can’t ask a supplementary”.
Cllr Etheridge said it was important for the council to be open and democratic.
- Young tennis coach presented with national award
- Paedophile jailed for nine years after string of child sex offences
- Man suffers puncture wound in chest after forestry assault
- Price beaten in final as he returns to darts action after three months
- Support announced for businesses still affected by ongoing restrictions
An amendment to the motion was put forward by Plaid Cymru group leader Colin Mann, which would have given councillors a chance to ask supplementary questions to cabinet members as well.
Cllr Sean Morgan, deputy leader of the council, said: “My concern is how long a council meeting could be elongated by these questions.”
He said that it would bring the maximum number of questions in full council up from six to 12.
“We are here to scrutinise and make decisions on behalf of residents,” he said.
“The extra questions do nothing to improve the decision-making process and these questions then can’t be debated on.”
The amendment was defeated, so no supplementary questions can be asked to cabinet members in full council.
Stay informed with quality, independent, local journalism…that matters
We believe the public should be informed about their community, coherently and with context. However, running a professional news service comes at a financial cost.
We are asking readers for their support to help us develop and grow our service.
Our membership costs from just £3 a month and in return, you can use our website without adverts.
Become a member – cancel anytime