I thought I’d interrupt my results analysis to bring you news on the Vale of Glamorgan Cabinet. Don’t worry, it hasn’t taken them this long to get around to it, it’s taken me this long to get around to it!
- Cllr. Neil Moore (Labour, Cadoc) is the Council Leader. He’s in charge of policy, corporate governance and public protection. Here’s the full list of his responsibilities (and those of his Cabinet colleagues).
- Cllr. Stuart Egan (Labour, Buttrills) is the Deputy Leader. His responsibilities include adult health and social care.
- Cllr. Bronwen Brooks (Labour, Court) has responsibility for housing and community safety.
- Cllr. Lis Burnett (Labour, St. Augustine’s) takes on economic development, planning and transport.
- Cllr. Rob Curtis (Labour, Gibbonsdown) has the environment portfolio.
- Cllr. Chris Elmore (Labour, Castleland) takes the lead on schools and child health and social care.
- Cllr. Gwyn John (Independent, Llantwit Major) looks after parks and leisure.
It won’t have escaped your notice that one of the Penarth councillors has been rewarded with a seat at the top table. Congratulations Lis Burnett! Let’s hope that Lis’ promotion doesn’t mean that she adopts an approach to her ward that previous Cabinet Members seem to have done through neglecting the electorate.
There are two things that immediately strike me about our Cabinet. Firstly, all the Cabinet Members are from urban wards: five from Barry and one each from Penarth and Llantwit Major (although Llantwit Major is nominally a rural ward, it’s fair to say that the majority of the population is in the town itself). That of course reflects the political make-up – the Conservatives have monopolised the rural wards in the Vale for some time. But it’ll be important for the Cabinet to keep an eye on rural goings-on too.
The second point is that there are only two women on the list. That presumably partly reflects the lack of women councillors generally – only 14 out of 47. But let’s look at this in a little more detail. Labour provides an astonishing 11 of the 14 female councillors in the Vale. Astonishing, because it also provides 11 of the male councillors and is therefore the only party that provides gender parity. One up for Neil Moore (equalities portfolio). But Labour is the only party that comes anywhere near gender parity. Are the other parties really that bereft of decent female candidates? Or are they somehow alienating 50% or so of the population from their politics? That doesn’t sound like good political strategy to me. Back to Cabinet – given that this is a coalition Cabinet and one seat had to go to the Independents (all male), I’ll suggest that half of the Labour seats should be occupied by women. So while it’s a thumbs-up to Labour for the councillor gender parity, they need to work a bit to get it right where the decisions are made.
I’ll be sending some of the relevant blog posts through to our new Cabinet over the coming weeks, and I’ll let you know what they say in response. And on that note, I’ve finally had a response from the Welsh Government about our Cogan problem. But I’ll save that for a later date.