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Suffolk: Cabinet reshuffle on the way after leadership election

10:00 19 April 2014

County council leader Mark Bee and his deputy Lisa Chambers at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

County council leader Mark Bee and his deputy Lisa Chambers at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

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Re-elected Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee is putting the final touches to his new cabinet over the Easter weekend.

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Mr Bee narrowly saw off a challenge from former cabinet finance spokesman Colin Noble earlier this month. Mr Noble and fellow cabinet member Richard Smith have been since been sacked from the council’s top table.

At present there are only six members of cabinet – and that is likely to formally remain the position until the official annual meeting of the county council on May 30.

However a clear indication of the shape of the new cabinet is expected to emerge next week to allow the council to start planning for the future.

The remaining six members of the cabinet – who all supported Mr Bee’s re-election campaign – are expected to retain their seats.

However there could be changes in the way portfolios are allocated – and two new faces could join them. The cabinet is not expected to be any larger than before the leadership challenge.

The key focus for the next three years is expected to be trying to improve educational standards in Suffolk’s schools.

Deputy leader Lisa Chambers has been responsible for all services relating to children and young people. Her portfolio is expected to be narrowed to allow her to concentrate on education – children’s social care is expected to he transferred to another cabinet member.

The planning and economic development portfolio could be split and combined with other responsibilities.

Mr Bee is also expected to bring in more backbenchers to new roles supporting cabinet members in drawing up council policies.

A meeting of the cabinet is due to take place on April 29 at which only the six current members will be able to take part – however those who will be taking new roles after May could be in attendance as observers.

The April cabinet meeting is not expected to have many controversial items on the agenda, and any issues that would have been handled by Mr Noble or Mr Smith are expected to be dealt with by Mr Bee.

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2 comments

  • Last week it was reported the people of E Suffolk felt neglected. Truth is, we are all neglected. Inevitable really in a council run by a cabinet of cowed yes-persons, as explained in this article. Unfortunately also, too many councillors have nice safe majorities so can concentrate on pleasing Mr B while ignoring their voters.

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    Blackeye

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

  • What was very apparent [from Cllr Noble's pre-contest comments] was that decisions and direction is only taken at SCC cabinet level with no input from backbenchers. Suffolk's powerhouse - and county town - Greater Ipswich (covering a third of Suffolk's population) does not a have a single cabinet member who resides in the town. If SCC's own cabinet members believe that SCC is unrepresentative and unaccountable, how do they think Ipswich people feel about SCC's dominance over our assets and affairs ?!

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    Mark Ling

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

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