LAMBETHWATCH DIARY : CLLR JON BARTLEY ON A NEW “CARETAKER MANAGER” (and he doesn’t mean Ole Gunnar Solskjaer!) plus: councillors play fantasy football

Lambeth council’s Green party opposition leader says the new leader of Lambeth council (Cllr Jack Hopkins) has a clear choice: to either be little more than a caretaker manager or take the council into a higher league.

His comment came as the Green opposition laid down five challenges for the new leader at the council’s latest full meeting:

The first is to come forward with a plan to fight Government cuts.

“It frankly beggars belief that the Labour leadership in Lambeth, despite all the bluster, buck passing and hand wringing since 2010, hasn’t actually ever come forward with any strategic plan about how to fight them.  “At best there has been a scattergun approach. At worst we have seen a council tax freeze which is now costing the council £10m a year in council tax revenue.

“In Bristol there is an exploration of legal action against the Secretary of State over cuts to SEN funding.  “Cllr Hopkins should bring forward a plan to full council about he intends to lead the fight against Tory austerity, not simply implement it as his predecessors have done.

The second challenge is to come forward with a meaningful process which involves local people in budget setting

“The Cabinet can bang on all it likes about the number of people who responded to the consultation on the budget.  The fact remains that the consultation took place long after the key decisions were made on the budget. “This council – if it is in any sense a co-operative – should develop a fully participatory process which really involves local people in making the decisions about finances that affect their lives.

Thirdly the new leader should urgently come forward with a timescale about how it will tackle the climate emergency that the council has now acknowledged.

“You can’t with any credibility declare there is an emergency, while at the same time showing complacency over actions to tackle it.  “We need clear dates and a plan of action, regarding what steps the council will now take.

Fourthly the new leader should look at how we can move the council toward a four day week.

“All the evidence suggests that it would boost productivity, improve employee health, wellbeing and morale, and improve staff retention.  “It is something that the Labour Party pays lip service to. “So why shouldn’t Lambeth show some leadership and become the first UK council to look at implementing a four day week?

And finally, abandon the cabinet system and move toward a committee system, which would decentralise the concentration of power and allow participation by many more councillors, on a cross party basis, in the running of the council.

“As someone who is currently 100 points ahead of him in the Lambeth Council fantasy football, I hope Cllr Hopkins will forgive me ending with a football metaphor.

“The new leader has a clear choice to either be little more than a caretaker manager or take the council into a higher league. “I hope he chooses the latter.”

Cllr Bartley had begun his speech by pointing out that a paper before them recommended that council elect Cllr Hopkins as its new leader.

“So I am wondering why council hasn’t even been given the briefest statement about why the councillor believes he is qualified for the job.

“It is hard to think of another situation where someone would put themselves forward for a position without so much as a basic CV.

“I understand that the Labour group had its hustings.  “But it is the council that is now being asked to make the decision, and it is frankly contemptuous and arrogant to expect councillors to rubber stamp it without even a statement setting out how the prospective leader intends to lead.

“Let’s hope that this isn’t indicative of the leadership style.”

*Ole Gunnar Solskjær is a Norwegian football manager and former player who is the caretaker manager of English club Manchester United. As a player, he spent most of his career playing as a forward for Manchester United. Before he arrived in England, Solskjær played for Norwegian clubs Clausenengen and Molde. Source: Wikipedia

P.S: If you’re wondering how your local councillor is doing in the Lambeth council Fantasy Football League, please go to:  – Ed.


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