Suffolk: New structure for county council

Council leader Mark Bee

Council leader Mark Bee - Credit: Contributed

EDUCATION and improving Suffolk’s schools is to be the centrepiece of the new county council structure to be proposed by leader Mark Bee later this month.

He is currently finalising plans for his new cabinet which is to be approved at the annual meeting of the county council on May 23.

New select committees are to be set up, giving back-bench councillors from all parties a direct say in the formulation of policy.

The new cabinet will have eight portfolio holders plus one member without portfolio who is expected to act as a liason with back-benchers from all parties.

There will also be a new education scrutiny committee set up alongside the health scrutiny committee as well as general scrutiny.

Mr Bee said the changes would give all councillors more of a say in drawing up policy.

“We are aware that some people feel as if they do not have a large enough role in the life of the council, and I am very keen that we should use their experience.”

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There would be changes within the cabinet – planning and economic development would be brought together as a single portfolio as would the health and adult care responsibilities.

Schools, young people and lifelong learning would be brought together in a move that Mr Bee sees as central to the next four years.

He said: “Improving the education will be the cornerstone of our work over the next few years. With the education scrutiny committee and the select committee working with the cabiner member, this should be clear.”

The new county council structure will not cost any more than the previous administration, Mr Bee insisted.