Nottingham City Council is currently run by a councillor from the ruling party called the Leader (currently Jon Collins), who makes decisions with a Cabinet of councillors, also from the ruling group (currently the Labour Party). Each of these councillors has responsibility for particular services, known as their ‘portfolio’. Nottingham has a Mayor, but this is a ceremonial role without any decision-making powers.
However, under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 the council must change its constitution by December 2010 to one of two options for leadership: either a Leader with stronger powers (a Strong Leader) or a directly elected Mayor.
Many Local Authorities consulted with their local citizens about which model they preferred.
I don’t know if Nottingham City Council has changed their constitution by the required date. And I certainly haven’t seen any sign of consultation. However, the council seems to be moving towards the strong leadership model.
This would mean that instead of Cabinet members being appointed by a meeting of the council, as they are now, between two and nine councillors would be chosen by the Leader, to help him or her take decisions. The other main change would be that the Leader would be appointed for a four year period (or the remainder of their term as a councillor), rather than a year.
I have heard many disparaging comments from City Council officers basically saying that the last thing Nottingham needs is for Councillor Jon Collins to be a stronger leader with more power. I certainly share their views.