Mayor of Newham removes her right to ‘final say’ on decisions and promises more resident consultations in first full council meeting

The new mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, has promised to put residents at the heart of her decision-making. Picture: Ken Mears

The new mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, has promised to put residents at the heart of her decision-making. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Newham unveiled the new-look Newham Council at a meeting last night.

In the first full council meeting of the new administration, Rokhsana Fiaz told councillors that resident engagement, transparency and accountability would be at the heart of the council’s work.

The meeting was previewed by a Citizen Assembly with residents. The mayor plans to roll out Citizen Assemblies in neighbourhoods across the borough to make residents more involved with decision-making.

She said: “The constitutional changes I am asking this council to make are designed to ensure an open democracy which is responsive and accountable to the people.

“We have to reduce the democratic deficit that has emerged locally and we will do this by introducing new participatory ways of including our residents in decision making.”

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Ms Fiaz pledged to increase the number of full council meetings and reinstate a public question time on all council meeting agendas.

She’ll cut £180,000 from the Special Responsibility Allowances – extra expenses given for additional duties – paid to councillors.

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There will also be changes which aim to address the imbalance of power between mayor, cabinet and councillors. Ms Fiaz will remove her right to a ‘final say’ on motions, and she’ll allow councillors to see the answers to the questions they’ve raised before full council meetings take place.

She said: “I promised in my election campaign that I would put the people at the heart of everything we do in Newham, so I’m very proud my first Annual Council Meeting began with its first Citizen Assembly.

“I am also delighted to announce we will introduce Citizen Assemblies across our Community Neighbourhoods which will encourage our residents to work with the council and play a meaningful role in the democratic life of this borough.”

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