Labour and Independent groups join forces to form official opposition and 'shadow executive' on Lincolnshire County Council
The eight elected members have been named today as the official Shadow Executive after negotiations since the May elections when both groups found themselves tied for second place with four councillors apiece behind overall majority holders, the Conservatives.
An agreement was reached at a meeting of the County Council on September 18 that the Labour Group and the Independent Group should together be recognised as the Opposition in accordance with the council's constitution.
Given the political balance, September's council meeting also endorsed a protocol to alternate the post of Leader of the Opposition on an annual basis: Labour Group Leader Coun Robert Parker is to serve as Leader of the Opposition until the next Annual Meeting of the Council in May 2022, when the role will transfer to Independent Group Leader Coun Phil Dilks for the following year.
A Shadow Executive has now been formed with membership and responsibilities as set out below:
Labour members - Coun Robert Parker: Resources, Communications, Commissioning, and Procurement; Coun Julie Killey: Childrens Services including Safeguarding; Coun Karen Lee: Adult Social Care including Local Authority Public Health; Coun Kev Clarke: Fire and Rescue including Community Safety and Cultural Services.
Independents - Coun Phil Dilks: Waste, Trading Standards, People Management, Legal and Corporate Property; Coun Ashley Baxter: Economic Development, Environment and Planning; Coun Marianne Overton: Highways, Transport and IT; Coun Richard Cleaver: NHS Liaison and Community Engagement.
Commenting on the new arrangement, Coun Robert Parker said: “This is a practical solution to make sure that there is a recognised Opposition to hold Conservative councillors and particularly the Executive to account for their actions.
“We will be doing so on behalf of the people of Lincolnshire. After all, the council has a revenue budget of £505 million a year and a capital budget of £208 million: scrutiny of that level of expenditure is essential.
“We will also be putting forward our own policies as will the Independents. Where we agree with their policy proposals no doubt we will support them.”
Coun Phil Dilks commented: “Effective opposition and well-informed constructive scrutiny in local government contributes to more robust and accountable decision-making. So it’s important that an agreement has been achieved which allows a functioning Shadow Executive to be established.
"We look forward to working creatively to offer positive and innovative proposals for the benefit of the people of Lincolnshire - whilst ensuring that the identity and integrity of both our groups is maintained.”