Havering Council’s new committee structure and roles decided

12:23 14 June 2022

More details on how Havering’s newly elected administration will run the borough have been finalized.

The revised committee structure was adopted at last night’s full board meeting (June 13), committee heads were also voted on.

As this article reports, the Havering Residents’ Association (HRA) and Labor reached a power-sharing deal after the May election, with the HRA’s Ray Morgon elected as local authority leader and the Cllr of Labor Trevor McKeever the Mayor on May 25.

Mayor of Havering Trevor McKeever
– Credit: Sandra Rowse

Resuming the meeting last night, a vote on a leaner committee structure and a cut to most special responsibility allowances (SRAs) also passed comfortably.

This includes highway removal, arbitration and review, and joint venture task force committees.

He also sees a consolidation of the oversight subcommittees into two main groups, plus an oversight and oversight committee, which the new administration says will be better resourced and meet more regularly than before.

Streamlining the committee system, seen as a key first step for the new administration, was questioned by several Conservative advisers ahead of the vote.

Councilor Joshua Chapman said he didn’t “feel undemocratic” to reduce scrutiny under the new structure and Councilor Keith Prince said he thought the leader “wanted to work with all parties in this advice”, a consensus “should have been sought” in deciding on the revisions.

Cllr Morgon pushed back on questions about the review, telling the board: ‘We have no fear of being held accountable. We welcome that.

Chairs and vice-chairs were also elected to the various committees, with HRA holding the majority.

Labor got a handful, however, including Cllr Mandy Anderson as chair of the pensions committee and Cllr Frankie Walker as vice-chair of the people’s oversight and control sub-committee.

The curators took three positions, with two curators chairing the review sub-committees.

Champion members — councilors who raise the profile and “demonstrate board commitment” to their assigned area, such as youth or equality and diversity — were named last.

Three Labour, one Conservative and two HRAs were given these roles.

Cllr Ray Morgon said he couldn't see how the HSE could be sure they were getting the full picture.

Cllr Ray Morgon said he couldn’t see how the HSE could be sure they were getting the full picture.
– Credit: Archant

In his closing statement, Cllr Morgon said “changing the committee system is the first step in that change,” referring to the “root and branch” review he promised.

“We’re going to work with everyone, no matter which party they belong to, to make Havering a better place.”

Ida M. Morgan