Top county council officer given ‘unprecedented’ decision-making powers following Covid-19 outbreak

The top officer at East Sussex County Council  has been given “unprecedented” decision-making powers on a temporary basis.

At a virtual meeting held on Thursday (April, 2), council leader Keith Glazier agreed for chief executive Becky Shaw to be given authority to make decisions, which are deemed “appropriate in response to Covid-19 to help safeguard the residents of East Sussex.”

Before making his decision, Cllr Glazier heard that such decisions would only be taken when “time was of the essence” and the matter was not already covered by current delegated powers.

The powers will also be reviewed in October (or sooner) to take account of future developments.

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.

(By Huw Oxburgh – Local Democracy Reporter)

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