Normal isn’t working.
Property development decisions made against community wishes; proposals to close most of the borough’s libraries; a costly and risky council-owned housing firm similar to the one that pushed Croydon to insolvency. All separate, distinct issues, but all connected by a thread: the outdated, hierarchical ‘Cabinet’ structure used at Lambeth council. This has produced bad decision after bad decision, year after year, and shuts most of the borough out of important decisions. It needs to go.
Change starts here.
With this petition and other offline outreach work, we will collect enough signatures to trigger a referendum on changing the Council’s way of working to a modern, ‘full committee’ system. The minimum we need to do this is 11,568 confirmed signatures, but we know this will not be enough, as some (we don’t know how many) will be rejected. So, we are aiming for more: 15,000. This would not only put the result beyond doubt, but will also kick-start a big conversation about local democracy in Lambeth. This is past due: low election turnouts and a sense of the system not working for many residents are a stain on our local democracy. This isn’t good enough, and needs to change. Other parts of the UK have already woken up to the need for local democratic reform. Sheffield, East Cheshire, Fylde and the Wirral have held referendums or unilaterally moved to a ‘Committee’ system.
The ‘full committee’ system is not the only alternative to the Cabinet system - there are a range of options, including an ‘Elected Mayor’. Having considered these carefully, we are adamant that a ‘full committee’ is the only way to achieve the culture change that is urgently needed in the council. The committee structure enables open, transparent, expert decision-making, cross-party collaboration, and wide public involvement. It opens the door to more public participation.
The Garden Bridge
Stopping ‘Homes Fail Lambeth’
No more pet projects
Town Hall Travesty
An open, modern Committee system would open up space to enable ideas like in-sourcing to be put back on the table.
An open committee system could have regular inspections of the processes, aims and goals of developer contributions, and would have much more capacity to do the follow-up analysis to check that the money went where it was supposed to in a timely way. This hasn’t happened under the Cabinet, leading to a build-up of over £73m, money which is urgently needed for frontline services and new facilities, but which has been sitting unspent for months or years.
Put communities back onto centre stage
Doing development differently
Ending ‘consultation in name only’
Getting to the root of issues facing the borough
Tackling disenfranchisement and disillusion
Building a stronger mandate
Moving on from the failed ‘strong leader’ model
Ending incentives for cronyism
Reducing the need for delegation
Better, not just faster, decision
Moving power out of the town hall and into communities