Town Hall leader Phil Davies: Time for Wirral to consider cutting councillor numbers

Wallasey Town Hall: Do we really need 66 councillors in Wirral?

Wallasey Town Hall: Do we really need 66 councillors in Wirral?

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Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Editor

TOWN hall leader Phil Davies says the time has come to consider reducing the number of councillors in Wirral.

His call came as neighbouring Knowsley Council looks set to axe 18 of its members following a Boundary Commission review.

In February last year, a Liberal Democrat bid to cut the number of Wirral councillors was defeated when a meeting of the full council saw Labour and Conservative groups uniting to throw out the plan.

However, Cllr Davies today said the “cost of democracy” on the peninsula needs to be reviewed and questioned whether the borough can afford to continue being represented by 66 members.

He told the Globe: “At a time when we are asking residents to pay more for services, and at the same time cutting those services, I think we need to look at our own offices.

“We need to have the debate again, we need to hear what residents and others think about reducing our numbers.

“I am not at this point advocating we should go ahead, but I have an open mind on the whole issue as part of the wider review of expenditure. I do not rule it in and I do not rule it out.”

He said the Labour administration will be publishing its budget options in September, which will detail proposals for slashing spending by a further £45m over the next two years.

And in the next few weeks, up to 500 council workers will be made redundant after applying for voluntary severance in a cost-cutting exercise.

“The issue of councillor numbers has been coming up regularly at staff meetings. It’s time we - and the other political groups - re-opened that debate,” said Cllr Davies.

Knowsley is reported in the Liverpool Echo today as saying it believed an authority with 45 members split across 15 wards would be the “optimum” size for the council.

Wirral has 66 members representing 22 wards. An online poll by the Globe last February asking if the council should be cut to 44 members saw more than 1,200 readers voting - and 93% said YES.

Tory group leader Cllr Jeff Green said at the time that he was against any such move: “My experience is that councillors work hard in the community speaking to local groups and helping to improve local neighbourhoods."

Do you think Wirral Council should reduce the number of councillors it has? Have your say below.

 

Comments (26)

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11:01am Wed 27 Aug 14

Growl Tiger says...

“consider reducing the number of councillors”
“questioned whether the borough can afford to continue being represented by 66 members”
“have the debate again”
“I am not at this point advocating we should go ahead”
“I have an open mind on the whole issue”
“I do not rule it in and I do not rule it out”

Cllr Phil Davies used to be indecisive, but now he just can’t make up his mind.
“consider reducing the number of councillors” “questioned whether the borough can afford to continue being represented by 66 members” “have the debate again” “I am not at this point advocating we should go ahead” “I have an open mind on the whole issue” “I do not rule it in and I do not rule it out” Cllr Phil Davies used to be indecisive, but now he just can’t make up his mind. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 21

11:09am Wed 27 Aug 14

Mojo68 says...

Start by getting rid of all the Labour councillors preferably before September 4th then Lyndale would be saved!!
Start by getting rid of all the Labour councillors preferably before September 4th then Lyndale would be saved!! Mojo68
  • Score: 9

12:00pm Wed 27 Aug 14

IanLewis44 says...

Couldn't agree more - the Lib Dem plan, however, was to reduce the number of councillors by just six.

A reduction of 22 - to 44 councillors instead of 66 - would also enable a much more radical plan that would save around £1.5 million over the 'electoral cycle'...such as this http://ianlewis2014.
wordpress.com/
Couldn't agree more - the Lib Dem plan, however, was to reduce the number of councillors by just six. A reduction of 22 - to 44 councillors instead of 66 - would also enable a much more radical plan that would save around £1.5 million over the 'electoral cycle'...such as this http://ianlewis2014. wordpress.com/ IanLewis44
  • Score: 12

12:09pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Local Govwatcher1 says...

Don't think about, Phil Davies, just do it now. Reduce to 44 Councillors and reduce all allowances by 25%.
Don't think about, Phil Davies, just do it now. Reduce to 44 Councillors and reduce all allowances by 25%. Local Govwatcher1
  • Score: 16

1:30pm Wed 27 Aug 14

JohnON says...

Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.
Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop. JohnON
  • Score: 4

2:06pm Wed 27 Aug 14

rover600 says...

Time after time in The Globe it has been pointed out that there are too many Councillors, the fact that Mr Davies has finally woken up to what the Councils residents/paymasters (yes us) have been saying truly brings his own capabilities in to question and perhaps he should consider his own position too. This all ably demonstrates the difference between the 'Real World' and Self serving Bureaucrats as in Councillors. There is not a single company in this country, (probably not even in the world) large or small that has a 'Board' of 66 Directors so why does any council let alone one that is as geographically small as Wirral need even half of the Councillors?
Time after time in The Globe it has been pointed out that there are too many Councillors, the fact that Mr Davies has finally woken up to what the Councils residents/paymasters (yes us) have been saying truly brings his own capabilities in to question and perhaps he should consider his own position too. This all ably demonstrates the difference between the 'Real World' and Self serving Bureaucrats as in Councillors. There is not a single company in this country, (probably not even in the world) large or small that has a 'Board' of 66 Directors so why does any council let alone one that is as geographically small as Wirral need even half of the Councillors? rover600
  • Score: 12

3:13pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Llamedos 1 says...

Spot on Rover........Davies has hedged this issue time and time again, so me thinks whats suddenly made him bring up the subject now. I can only assume there may be panic in the ranks and Davies himself is becoming nervous.......lets hope he listens to the electorate who are virtually demanding a reduction in the numbers of councillors
Spot on Rover........Davies has hedged this issue time and time again, so me thinks whats suddenly made him bring up the subject now. I can only assume there may be panic in the ranks and Davies himself is becoming nervous.......lets hope he listens to the electorate who are virtually demanding a reduction in the numbers of councillors Llamedos 1
  • Score: 9

4:13pm Wed 27 Aug 14

reliant22 says...

Might I suggest one Couincllor for each Ward is more than enough?
Who needs them anyway? I would also suggest that the majority of taxpayers out there do what the Councillors are supposed to do.....mostly to travel around their Ward, (some do) some we never see until Election campaign time. We are all very capable of reporting to the Town Hall what we feel is wrong.
As for scrutiny of Town Hall officers as a Cllr`s role is meant to be.....they have never done this to any degree of satisfaction, thus, (as has recently come to light) the amount of officers who have had `no case to answer` verdicts declared. 22 useless cllrs is more than enough thank you. Perhaps we could make a start with Phil and Steve?
Might I suggest one Couincllor for each Ward is more than enough? Who needs them anyway? I would also suggest that the majority of taxpayers out there do what the Councillors are supposed to do.....mostly to travel around their Ward, (some do) some we never see until Election campaign time. We are all very capable of reporting to the Town Hall what we feel is wrong. As for scrutiny of Town Hall officers as a Cllr`s role is meant to be.....they have never done this to any degree of satisfaction, thus, (as has recently come to light) the amount of officers who have had `no case to answer` verdicts declared. 22 useless cllrs is more than enough thank you. Perhaps we could make a start with Phil and Steve? reliant22
  • Score: 7

5:03pm Wed 27 Aug 14

minimad69 says...

Been saying this for years - needs a boundary commission re-hash of the boundaries - which will be very interesting - due to the natural make-up of Wirral - which puts desirable areas, cheek-by-jowl with poorer areas - some blue areas may find themselves turning red and vice-versa !

Also the population of Wirral has fallen drastically (by over 80,000 in the last decade) since the 66 councillors were installed - they nearly outnumber the population now.......
Been saying this for years - needs a boundary commission re-hash of the boundaries - which will be very interesting - due to the natural make-up of Wirral - which puts desirable areas, cheek-by-jowl with poorer areas - some blue areas may find themselves turning red and vice-versa ! Also the population of Wirral has fallen drastically (by over 80,000 in the last decade) since the 66 councillors were installed - they nearly outnumber the population now....... minimad69
  • Score: 6

6:16pm Wed 27 Aug 14

johnhardaker says...

Is this the end of the gravy train £756k paid to 66 councillors & 3 advisers it is not before time this proposal was put on the table & approved but I would doubt whether they would cut of their noses to spite their faces, it will never happen.
Is this the end of the gravy train £756k paid to 66 councillors & 3 advisers it is not before time this proposal was put on the table & approved but I would doubt whether they would cut of their noses to spite their faces, it will never happen. johnhardaker
  • Score: 5

8:02pm Wed 27 Aug 14

muggle says...

Great Idea! Just so long as they don't give themselves golden goodbye payments! They have been too many, been paid too much, for too long and don't need or deserve it.
Great Idea! Just so long as they don't give themselves golden goodbye payments! They have been too many, been paid too much, for too long and don't need or deserve it. muggle
  • Score: 7

9:20pm Wed 27 Aug 14

bigfoot says...

No doubt it will be a 'strategic' reduction to benefit Labour.
No doubt it will be a 'strategic' reduction to benefit Labour. bigfoot
  • Score: 1

10:12pm Wed 27 Aug 14

David Scott says...

JohnON wrote:
Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.
No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.
[quote][p][bold]JohnON[/bold] wrote: Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.[/p][/quote]No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in. David Scott
  • Score: 2

10:15pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Growl Tiger says...

Yesterday his CEO made a statement to The Echo about up to 500 staff being made redundant. And suddenly arrives his Press opportunity for our Leader to” think” about cutting back on the number of councillors to soften the blow of loss of front line jobs.

At The Golf Open nearly all councillors were present at our expense, despite the CEO sending a spokesperson onto the Roger Phillips programme to say that only 2 councillors would be present and only tea and coffee would be available and only on 2 practise days. £50,000 is a lot of money for 2 councillors on only 2 practise days! Another pack of WBC spokesperson's blatant lies.

Our Leader is still “only thinking” about cutting back on councillors. It’s a cliché I hate but we had a discussion last yearabout turkeys and Christmas voting for each other. It doesn't work.

All Cllr Davies is creating is another smokescreen. Remember this is the Council where the abnormal is normal and nothing, absolutely nothing has changed.
Yesterday his CEO made a statement to The Echo about up to 500 staff being made redundant. And suddenly arrives his Press opportunity for our Leader to” think” about cutting back on the number of councillors to soften the blow of loss of front line jobs. At The Golf Open nearly all councillors were present at our expense, despite the CEO sending a spokesperson onto the Roger Phillips programme to say that only 2 councillors would be present and only tea and coffee would be available and only on 2 practise days. £50,000 is a lot of money for 2 councillors on only 2 practise days! Another pack of WBC spokesperson's blatant lies. Our Leader is still “only thinking” about cutting back on councillors. It’s a cliché I hate but we had a discussion last yearabout turkeys and Christmas voting for each other. It doesn't work. All Cllr Davies is creating is another smokescreen. Remember this is the Council where the abnormal is normal and nothing, absolutely nothing has changed. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 4

9:30am Thu 28 Aug 14

piermaster says...

IanLewis44 wrote:
Couldn't agree more - the Lib Dem plan, however, was to reduce the number of councillors by just six.

A reduction of 22 - to 44 councillors instead of 66 - would also enable a much more radical plan that would save around £1.5 million over the 'electoral cycle'...such as this http://ianlewis2014.

wordpress.com/
Not bitter and twisted then Ian after the loss of your seat?? Has anyone considered the fact that as authority officers reduce councillors will have to deal with more casework and issues that would normally be handled by officers? Housing and street scene to name just two areas.

And no I am not a Councillor before some smart a--e suggests I am!!
[quote][p][bold]IanLewis44[/bold] wrote: Couldn't agree more - the Lib Dem plan, however, was to reduce the number of councillors by just six. A reduction of 22 - to 44 councillors instead of 66 - would also enable a much more radical plan that would save around £1.5 million over the 'electoral cycle'...such as this http://ianlewis2014. wordpress.com/[/p][/quote]Not bitter and twisted then Ian after the loss of your seat?? Has anyone considered the fact that as authority officers reduce councillors will have to deal with more casework and issues that would normally be handled by officers? Housing and street scene to name just two areas. And no I am not a Councillor before some smart a--e suggests I am!! piermaster
  • Score: 1

12:56pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Llamedos 1 says...

Bit unfair that comment Piermaster....Ian Lewis was probably one of the best councillors sitting on Wirral Council. And without a shadow of doubt he was certainly the best councillor Leasowe have had. I look at it from the point of view of the work councillors do on behalf of their constituency NOT from a political point of view. In fact Mr Lewis is still taking an interest in the activities of Wirral Clowncil even though the electorate of Leasowe have rejected him......sadly their loss.
Bit unfair that comment Piermaster....Ian Lewis was probably one of the best councillors sitting on Wirral Council. And without a shadow of doubt he was certainly the best councillor Leasowe have had. I look at it from the point of view of the work councillors do on behalf of their constituency NOT from a political point of view. In fact Mr Lewis is still taking an interest in the activities of Wirral Clowncil even though the electorate of Leasowe have rejected him......sadly their loss. Llamedos 1
  • Score: 5

1:27pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Jeff Green against it. There's a surprise, not! I have had direct contact with many local councillors and i can honestly tell you that 80% are pretty much useless. When we do get a decent one who comes in for the greater good, they get put upon and end up brow beaten. There is a hard core of switched on members but most of them are either in it for themselves or playing party politics. I remember when Jeff had his opportunity. He told staff in a big speech that he was going to change things for the better and give the place a big shake up. He got very pally with a fellow fag lover and all the grand ideas went out the window. Soon after he was gone and nothing changed.
Jeff Green against it. There's a surprise, not! I have had direct contact with many local councillors and i can honestly tell you that 80% are pretty much useless. When we do get a decent one who comes in for the greater good, they get put upon and end up brow beaten. There is a hard core of switched on members but most of them are either in it for themselves or playing party politics. I remember when Jeff had his opportunity. He told staff in a big speech that he was going to change things for the better and give the place a big shake up. He got very pally with a fellow fag lover and all the grand ideas went out the window. Soon after he was gone and nothing changed. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 4

3:19pm Thu 28 Aug 14

woodyres2 says...

Well you could easily get rid of the 3 labour councillors in Woodchurch/Upton all useless & do nothing for the wider community. Only interested in Roads & Schools 2 of them !! We will most likely be losing the Woodchurch Leisure Centre next, then the Library, and it has taken 4 years to finally achieve the asset transfer of the Community Centre.
Well you could easily get rid of the 3 labour councillors in Woodchurch/Upton all useless & do nothing for the wider community. Only interested in Roads & Schools 2 of them !! We will most likely be losing the Woodchurch Leisure Centre next, then the Library, and it has taken 4 years to finally achieve the asset transfer of the Community Centre. woodyres2
  • Score: 3

10:29am Fri 29 Aug 14

JohnON says...

David Scott wrote:
JohnON wrote:
Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.
No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.
Hmm, so if a ward has once good councillor and two lame ducks and it's the good councillor's "turn" at the next election, you're left with two lame ducks?
[quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnON[/bold] wrote: Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.[/p][/quote]No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.[/p][/quote]Hmm, so if a ward has once good councillor and two lame ducks and it's the good councillor's "turn" at the next election, you're left with two lame ducks? JohnON
  • Score: 2

10:29am Fri 29 Aug 14

JohnON says...

David Scott wrote:
JohnON wrote:
Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.
No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.
Hmm, so if a ward has once good councillor and two lame ducks and it's the good councillor's "turn" at the next election, you're left with two lame ducks?
[quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnON[/bold] wrote: Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.[/p][/quote]No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.[/p][/quote]Hmm, so if a ward has once good councillor and two lame ducks and it's the good councillor's "turn" at the next election, you're left with two lame ducks? JohnON
  • Score: 2

11:28am Fri 29 Aug 14

hobroW says...

A sop to calm anger at 500 job losses. Consideration will take many months of consultation; the execution of the reduction equitably will take years; finally who will sit on all the mutifarous committees?

Many practical difficulties and most of all I'd like to witness the vote in the council chamber to reduce the numbers as would many Wirral residents. A spectacle indeed almost of Christians drawing lots as to who will enter the amphitheatre to face the lions first?
A sop to calm anger at 500 job losses. Consideration will take many months of consultation; the execution of the reduction equitably will take years; finally who will sit on all the mutifarous committees? Many practical difficulties and most of all I'd like to witness the vote in the council chamber to reduce the numbers as would many Wirral residents. A spectacle indeed almost of Christians drawing lots as to who will enter the amphitheatre to face the lions first? hobroW
  • Score: 3

5:29pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Hugo1008 says...

It has been pointed out on numerous occasions, Divide the Wirral into 6 Areas, each with a population of about 50,000.
Each area elect 3 Peoples representatives or Councilors for want of a title.

That is 18 Councillors representing 300,000 population from all walks of life. The the electorate of Wirral elect a Leader plus a Deputy, that gives a 20 Strong representative body who have the sole aim of reducing the total cost of the Wirral Borough Council, without any loss of service or facilities for the local population and Properly Govern the Wirral Peninsular in the interests of the electorate and not in particular any Political Party.
The 20 strong body must Truly Govern with the true interests of the Population first and foremost and be fully accountable to the electorate with a robust recall system.
That would be a true democracy for a real forward thinking change long overdue.
It has been pointed out on numerous occasions, Divide the Wirral into 6 Areas, each with a population of about 50,000. Each area elect 3 Peoples representatives or Councilors for want of a title. That is 18 Councillors representing 300,000 population from all walks of life. The the electorate of Wirral elect a Leader plus a Deputy, that gives a 20 Strong representative body who have the sole aim of reducing the total cost of the Wirral Borough Council, without any loss of service or facilities for the local population and Properly Govern the Wirral Peninsular in the interests of the electorate and not in particular any Political Party. The 20 strong body must Truly Govern with the true interests of the Population first and foremost and be fully accountable to the electorate with a robust recall system. That would be a true democracy for a real forward thinking change long overdue. Hugo1008
  • Score: 3

10:16am Mon 1 Sep 14

hobroW says...

Even more significant is the apparent lack of effective scrutiny exercised by these several groups or bodies, and least of all by the Scrutiny Panels. Scrutiny in its widest sense is an essential component of Cabinet government. Rarely does it appear from the minutes that councillors have held officers to account by checking the evidence for proposals or asking whether their ends could be met in other ways. It may be that the minutes are written in bland, non-specific, language, but that does nothing to reassure the public that genuine accountability is being exercised. It is important that councillors test proposals by reference to their broad experience and their knowledge of the Borough and their own constituents. There should be nothing threatening about this; good officers should welcome challenge as a central part of local democracy.
Even more significant is the apparent lack of effective scrutiny exercised by these several groups or bodies, and least of all by the Scrutiny Panels. Scrutiny in its widest sense is an essential component of Cabinet government. Rarely does it appear from the minutes that councillors have held officers to account by checking the evidence for proposals or asking whether their ends could be met in other ways. It may be that the minutes are written in bland, non-specific, language, but that does nothing to reassure the public that genuine accountability is being exercised. It is important that councillors test proposals by reference to their broad experience and their knowledge of the Borough and their own constituents. There should be nothing threatening about this; good officers should welcome challenge as a central part of local democracy. hobroW
  • Score: 1

10:20am Mon 1 Sep 14

hobroW says...

And if they dont do scrutiny then why have them?

above is extract from Prof Alexis Jay re CSE in Rotherham, a borough controlled by Labour with a massive majority.

Labour here does not have same level of control but excludes opposition from Chairs of Committees. 22 councillors or 44 would necessitate sharing of the Chairs of committees simply because Labour could not in all conscience appoint mittees and a shortage of councillors to man committees would necessitate that, or alternatively accept the expertise of opposition councillors
And if they dont do scrutiny then why have them? above is extract from Prof Alexis Jay re CSE in Rotherham, a borough controlled by Labour with a massive majority. Labour here does not have same level of control but excludes opposition from Chairs of Committees. 22 councillors or 44 would necessitate sharing of the Chairs of committees simply because Labour could not in all conscience appoint mittees and a shortage of councillors to man committees would necessitate that, or alternatively accept the expertise of opposition councillors hobroW
  • Score: 0

10:22am Mon 1 Sep 14

hobroW says...

mitties = numpties
mitties = numpties hobroW
  • Score: 1

6:36pm Thu 11 Sep 14

Sargon says...

JohnON wrote:
David Scott wrote:
JohnON wrote:
Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.
No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.
Hmm, so if a ward has once good councillor and two lame ducks and it's the good councillor's "turn" at the next election, you're left with two lame ducks?
Please tell me that you don't think the solution to that conundrum is to keep the good councillor AND the two lame ducks?
[quote][p][bold]JohnON[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnON[/bold] wrote: Without their being a major shakeup, as IanLewis44 suggests on his blog, I can't for the life of me see how it would be decided which councillors get the chop.[/p][/quote]No need to give anyone the chop - just miss out the next year's election following a change to 44 being brought in.[/p][/quote]Hmm, so if a ward has once good councillor and two lame ducks and it's the good councillor's "turn" at the next election, you're left with two lame ducks?[/p][/quote]Please tell me that you don't think the solution to that conundrum is to keep the good councillor AND the two lame ducks? Sargon
  • Score: 1

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