Cabinet System for Swansea Council

(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)

Most of what Swansea Labour Leader David Phillips says in his interview is to be welcomed (Swansea Council leader: ‘Hard work starts now for a better future‘, Wednesday 16 May).  But it is disappointing to note that the new Labour administration will be continuing with the Cabinet system.

Public debates, regular leader and cabinet question times, meetings in towns and communities across the county, use of new technology such as Facebook and the live streaming of proceedings are all very well, but they amount to nothing more than window dressing if the important decisions are going to be made by a small, single party group out of the public gaze.

Single party cabinets are not in the best interests of local democracy. They take decision-making powers away from councils as a whole and place them in the hands of a few individuals, leading to the disenfranchisement of those councillors who are not in the ruling party and the citizens they represent.

Having won most of the seats on Swansea Council through the ‘first past the post’ system, Labour may now think they have a free hand in Swansea.  However, with less than one-third of the electorate having voted, and with the majority of those that did voting for other parties or independents, the result should be viewed as a licence to manage rather than a mandate to rule.

If David Phillips and his Labour colleagues truly want to make Swansea Council more open and accountable, they should recognise this, scrap the Cabinet system and return to the Committee system that provides wider member involvement in decision-making.

That would be a significant first step in healing the divisions that have riven Swansea Council for the past decade.


Keith M Ross, Swansea Green Party


One response to this post.

  1. Letter published in full in today’s Evening Post.


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