North Ayrshire's new-look Cabinet aims to drive post-Covid change
Posted on 11 Jun 2020
North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet roles are being transformed to drive change in a post-Covid North Ayrshire.
The shake-up reflects the Council’s ambitions for Community Wealth Building and to tackle climate change.
The move also aims to open up Council decision-making to wider participation by local residents, building on the Council’s innovative Community Investment Fund and its approach to Participatory Budgeting for mainstream services such as ground maintenance.
A dedicated Cabinet post will focus on post-Covid renewal of local services whilst, for the first time, a Cabinet member will take responsibility for addressing poverty.
North Ayrshire Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “The world has changed dramatically over the last few months and we are only just at the start of this journey. What’s clear is that there can be no return to business as usual and I am therefore reflecting the changed social and economic landscape by refocusing my Cabinet’s purpose.
“Last month, we unveiled our Community Wealth Building Strategy and it will be at the heart of all that we do as a Council going forward. I have worked, with a host of economic experts, to develop that strategy and will be taking personal responsibility for the delivery of it with the new Cabinet post.
“Our economic recovery must be an inclusive, green recovery and the Community Wealth Building portfolio will closely align with the new Cabinet post for a Green New Deal & Sustainability. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of achieving net-zero by 2030 and this Cabinet post will develop a roadmap to net-zero, encompassing carbon reduction across a range of areas such as buildings and transport, developing new renewable energy generation and adopting carbon sequestration strategies.
“We all know that too many families in North Ayrshire are living in poverty. Over the last few years, my administration has shone a light on poverty and shown a commitment to tackling it in our policy making. However, the impact of Covid-19 on people’s lives threatens to push more families below the poverty line and therefore, for the first time, we will have a Cabinet member with responsibility for addressing poverty.
“Across everything we do, we want local people to have the opportunity to be involved in designing change in their communities. That’s why I am creating a Cabinet post for Participatory Democracy, tasked with opening up council structures to involve citizens in decision-making. Now is the time, as we look to the future beyond Covid-19, for a new relationship, where we seek to share power and work to achieve our common goals together.
“This participatory model will be fundamentally important as we design the Post Covid-Renewal of local services, which will have a lead Cabinet member responsible for pulling together service change and transformation. From this crisis we must build on the momentum of our response, both as a council but also the incredible support offered by volunteers across our area, and use it to deliver real and lasting change.
“All these roles, and the work they will focus on, are inextricably linked in our fight to ensure that we have an economy and a society which works for all of us.”
The refreshed Cabinet roles are:
- Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building (Joe Cullinane) - responsible for all activities relating to Community Wealth Building as well as areas such as budget, procurement, business support, regeneration, employability and the Ayrshire Growth Deal.
- Cabinet Member for Green New Deal & Sustainability (Jim Montgomerie) - Responsible for carbon reduction and sustainable environmental management including areas such as housing, renewable energy, roads, recycling, and biodiversity.
- Cabinet Member for Education (John Bell) - Responsible for Young People’s Education, Skills and Learning including schools, early years, additional support needs and post-school destinations.
- Cabinet Member for Participatory Democracy (Louise McPhater) - Responsible for improving participation with our communities including Participatory Democracy/Budgeting 2.0, locality planning, libraries, digital participation, heritage and culture, and third and voluntary sector partnerships.
- Cabinet Member for Post Covid-Renewal (Alex Gallagher) - Responsible for leading post-Covid-19 service change and transformation. In addition, this role will be responsible for National Islands Plan and Arran/Cumbrae liaison.
- Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care Partnership and lead member for Poverty (Robert Foster) - Responsible for HSCP services (IJB Chair) and leading on addressing poverty.