Council chief executive set to receive ‘unprecedented’ powers during coronavirus lockdown
The chief executive of East Sussex County Council may be set to receive ‘unprecedented’ decision-making powers, if proposals are approved this week.
In proposals set to be considered by council leader Keith Glazier on Thursday (April 2), it is recommended that the authority’s chief executive Becky Shaw be given authority to make decisions deemed ‘appropriate in response to Covid-19 to help safeguard the residents or East Sussex’.
According to the council, Cllr Glazier will make the decision remotely and will not be present in the room.
In a report set to be considered by Cllr Glazier, a council officer said: “The current situation is moving at pace and requires decisions to be taken at short notice.
“Although measures are being put in place for lead member decisions to be taken virtually it may in certain situations not be possible or prudent to wait for the lead member to take the decisions meeting.
“It is therefore recommended that the leader delegates authority to the chief executive to take any executive decision which she considers appropriate in response to the Covid-19 to help safeguard the residents or East Sussex.
“It is recognised that this is a significant step and unprecedented.
“Where the chief executive exercises this delegation, and the power exercised is not one currently set out in the scheme of delegation to officers, then she will report this decision to the group leaders as soon as practicable.”
Similar proposals had been set to be considered at a full council meeting on Tuesday (March 24), but the meeting was cancelled in light of the government lockdown.
The previous proposals would not have given Ms Shaw executive decision-making power, but would have suspended standing orders on cabinet member decisions.
The previous proposals would have also seen Cllr Glazier (or the council’s deputy leader in his absence) assume all the powers of the Cabinet in order that decisions could be taken if the cabinet does not meet or is not quorate.
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