Tonight was the first meeting of the Executive Committee of Harlow Council, part of our new way of working in Harlow. I think overall it was a success.

The meeting was well attended, only one Lib Dem apology, but a number of other Labour and Conservative Councillors who were not members of the committee also turned up to speak and ask questions. There were even some members in the public gallery, which is always nice to see.

Two main items of business, establishing the working groups and naming their Chairmen and members. I now have my full team in place and we can effectively get to work. I want to see the decision making process streamlined so will be watching very closely over the next couple of months to see how it works.

The other key item of business was to kick start the discussion on moving to a formal different model of control, and we agreed to ask full council to go to a period of consultation on this. I really do think the opposition thought that it was a sown up and done deal, but I hope I persuaded them that I really am interested in what the public have to say about this. I am not sure if the people of Harlow will care a great deal about the differences between committee structure and cabinet may be but I want to hear what they have to say about both of them and the mayoral system as well. I want to consult the community, the business community the faith based communities. In fact I want everyone in Harlow to have a chance to have their say.

After that it will be up to the politicians, of all colours, to listen to the will of the people. I hope the opposition will agree to listen as much as I will expect my group to.

So at annual council we decided to back my plan to move to an executive committee, getting rid of the P&R, Housing and E&C committees that did exist.

Getting to grips with a new system will take a while and I am sure people (who in the main don’t like change) may be a little upset, but it removes the long trudge of items being referred from one committee to the other, speeds up the decision making process and I think will work out cheaper and more transparent to the public.

In the mean time I will be bringing a paper to the first executive meeting, next week, about moving to full cabinet style governance, and the 6 months of consultation and thoughtful reflection the council must go through before any such decision can be taken.

The first executive also gives me the first question session of the year to answer, as leader, which I am very much looking forward to!

So at annual council we decided to back my plan to move to an executive committee, getting rid of the P&R, Housing and E&C committees that did exist.

Getting to grips with a new system will take a while and I am sure people (who in the main don’t like change) may be a little upset, but it removes the long trudge of items being referred from one committee to the other, speeds up the decision making process and I think will work out cheaper and more transparent to the public.

In the mean time I will be bringing a paper to the first executive meeting, next week, about moving to full cabinet style governance, and the 6 months of consultation and thoughtful reflection the council must go through before any such decision can be taken.

The first executive also gives me the first question session of the year to answer, as leader, which I am very much looking forward to!