THE LEADER of Thurrock Labour has lambasted the decision by the bosses at Thurrock Council to make a job appointment against the wishes of councillors.
Councillor Jane Pothecarty said: “It’s bitterly disappointing that we have reached this point. What we saw on Wednesday was a complete breakdown in the relationship between officers and elected members. Councillors from all parties are angry, and rightly so, that they were forced into a position where they felt pressured into approving a doubling up of a role as crucial as director of children’s services with a number of other big areas of responsibility.
Rather than rubber stamp what we judged to be a bad decision for protecting Thurrock’s children, we rejected the proposal. Now it has been pushed through using delegated powers for a period of six months. It should never have reached this point. At every turn, democratically elected councillors, who are accountable to the people of Thurrock, were shut out of this decision and treated as an afterthought.
The Labour Group has raised concerns repeatedly in recent months about the council’s lack of consultation, engagement and democratic accountability. As elected councillors, we have felt increasingly sidelined as decisions have been taken without us, our voices ignored and our ability to challenge the council’s actions undermined.
This cannot continue. Things must change. The council needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror and restore local councillors and the residents we represent to the heart of the decision making process. That’s the point of democracy after all.