Havering cabinet team confirmed

Havering Council’s new leader has confirmed his cabinet team, which will be shared between eight residents’ association councillors and two Labour.

Havering Residents Association (HRA) leader Ray Morgon was elected leader of the council last month in a power-sharing agreement with the Labour group.

HRA’s 23 councillors were supported by Labour’s nine to elect Councillor Morgon leader and remove the Conservatives, and their leader Damian White, from power.

Once Cllr Morgon was elected leader, the proceedings were paused to continue negotiating the terms of the agreement.

On Monday this week, the council leader revealed that HRA group’s councillors will be responsible for six of the eight cabinet roles, with Labour in the remaining two.

HRA cabinet members

  • Cllr Ray Morgon – Leader of the council
  • Cllr Gillian Ford – Adults and health
  • Cllr Graham Williamson – Development and regeneration
  • Cllr Oscar Ford – Children’s services
  • Cllr Chris Wilkins – Finance and transformation
  • Cllr Barry Mugglestone – Environment
  • Cllr Paul Middleton – Corporate, culture and leisure services

Labour cabinet members

  • Cllr Keith Darvill – Climate
  • Cllr Paul McGeary – Housing

Reforming the committee system

Cllr Morgon repeated his election pledge of a “root and branch” review of council services and to embed a “culture of performance”.

The first key change brought forward by Cllr Morgon at Monday’s meeting was to reform the scrutiny committee system.

Two scrutiny committees covering ‘places’ and ‘people’ will replace six previous committees that scrutinised areas such as crime, children’s services and health.

The overview and scrutiny board will also continue to look at key council policies and is able to ‘call-in’ decisions that members are believe need further scrutiny.

Cllr Morgon said the new system will be “a more streamlined, more focused and a more value-for-money system”.

Councillor Joshua Chapman, for the Conservatives, said the changes were a “slash and burn” attack on the scrutiny structure.

He added: “Scrutiny is the bedrock of democracy and if you’re confident in your policies then you shouldn’t have anything to fear on the granular level.

“I’ve been reading in the newspapers how the new administration wants to work collaboratively and I really hope that’s the case.”

Labour leader Keith Darvill, whose group supported the new structure, said there will be more members meeting at least ten times a year.

He added: “In fact, [the new committees] will be better resourced than they have been.”

Before the changes were approved in a vote, Cllr Morgon responded: “It’s incumbent upon all of us to make it a success.

“You’ll have no obstruction from me as leader in any committee, you will not be held back in any way whatsoever.”

Chairs and vice-chairs elected

Through voting, HRA councillors were appointed to 16 of the 22 chair and vice chairman roles available, with Labour and the Conservatives being appointed to three each.

While the overview and scrutiny board will be chaired by an HRA councillor, the Conservatives won chairmanships of both people and places overview and scrutiny sub-committees.

In addition to influencing what is discussed at scrutiny meetings, chairs and vice-chairs benefit from a Special Responsibility Allowance of £5,000-£7,000, on top of their basic allowance of £10,412.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter