THE way decisions are made at the Isle of Wight Council could be overhauled.
A consultation on whether to scrap the cabinet system in favour of returning to a committee system will run until the end of next month, on the council website and through town and parish councils.
People will be asked which of three models they prefer — the current system, where most of decisions are made by the cabinet; a committee structure, where decisions are made by committees specialising in areas such as the economy or children's services; and a hybrid system, where the cabinet (renamed the executive) remains as the decision making body, supported by executive advisory committees.
Members agreed at last Wednesday's to consult on all three options rather than express a preference for the hybrid system, as recommended by a cross-party working group set up to develop a more open, accountable and inclusive system of governance.
Council leader Cllr Ian Stephens said the hybrid system represented a step in the right direction without the need to reinvent the wheel, but Tory councillors accused Independents of reneging on an election promise to move to scrap the cabinet.
Independent Cllr Bob Blezzard described the hybrid system as 'a dog's breakfast' and said merely renaming the cabinet and making a few cosmetic changes would not make any difference.
Advisory committees would have no power and would simply rubber-stamp decisions, according to Conservative Cllr Chris Whitehouse.
Labour member Cllr Geoff Lumley, however, said the hybrid system would be more inclusive than the previous Conservative regime.
"The old cabinet essentially everyone who wasn't in the inner circle on the outside of decision making," he said.
At last night’s (Monday) Sandown Town Council a motion from Cllr Blezzard supporting the committee system was backed by councillors including Conservative Isle of Wight Council member Cllr Ian Ward.
The consultation runs until October 31. To take part, click here.