Norfolk County Council Elects New Leader

24 May 2013, 14:18 | Updated: 24 May 2013, 14:39

Cllr George Nobbs, Leader of the Labour Group on Norfolk County Council, has been elected as leader of Norfolk County Council.

Cllr Nobbs, Labour member for Crome division (Norwich), was elected Leader of the Council by 42 votes to 38.

The new Leader announced two immediate Cabinet appointments relating to Children's Services:

Cllr Mick Castle, Labour member for Yarmouth North and Central, is Cabinet Member for Education and Schools.

Cllr James Joyce, Liberal Democrat member for Reepham, is Cabinet Member for Safeguarding.

Cllr Nobbs said the two appointments reflected the importance to Norfolk of making rapid improvements in Children's Services, which was too big a job for a single cabinet member.

The Council then voted 41-38 in favour of a motion proposed by Cllr Toby Coke, Leader of the UKIP Group, seconded by Cllr Richard Bearman, Leader of the Green group to agree in principle to change Norfolk County Council's cabinet system of decision-making to a committee system. Under the current cabinet system most decisions are made by a cabinet comprising up to 10 members of the controlling political grouping. Under a committee system decisions are made by all-party committees with memberships reflecting the overall political makeup of the council (the proportions are set under the Widdicombe rules).


The Council has asked the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Panel (CROSP) to establish a Constitution Advisory Group so that a report can be brought back to Council on changing to the committee system of governance.


A change in the Council's system of governance would only take effect if agreed at the next Annual Meeting of the Council in May 2014.


Afterwards, the new Leader of the Council, Cllr George Nobbs, said: "It is a great honour to be elected Leader, but Norfolk faces great problems, not least with our Children's Services, and including difficult financial challenges for the County Council. I hope we can all go forward together. We have made a start today."


Cllr Nobbs said he would be announcing further Cabinet appointments next week.


Council also agreed to the allocation of seats on committees and panels after accepting an amendment proposed by Cllr Bill Borrett, Leader of the Conservative group.


~ At the start of the meeting Cllr Brian Hannah, Liberal Democrat member for Sheringham, was elected Vice Chairman of Norfolk County Council. The new Vice Chairman will assist the Chairman, Cllr Hilary Cox, with civic duties, and will chair full council meetings when the Chairman is unavailable. Cllr Cox was elected Chairman at the meeting of the Full Council on 13 May.