Rotherham Council commissioner decisions will be made in private meetings

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Commissioners who have taken over the running of scandal hit Rotherham Council will make decisions in private meetings.

The five commissioners were brought in to run the authority after the town’s child sex abuse scandal led to the entire cabinet standing down and will do so until 2019.

Now the commissioners have set out how they will make certain council decisions - such as those previously considering by the council cabinet and licensing committee - in an entirely different system from those usually used by local authorities with elected councillors.

Each commissioner will consider decisions in their own area of responsibility, working with councillors and officers.

People will be given five days to have their say on the ‘minded-to’ proposals after they were published on the council’s website and the council says ‘views will be taken into account’.

But final decisions will be made in private and the proposals will only be published online.

Commissioner Sir Derek Myers, lead commissioner, said the change would mean decisions were taken quicker and there were ‘unprecedented circumstances’.

He added: “This gives us the ability to work in a way which is very different to the previous cabinet system, without a rigid set of public meetings as a group, allowing for speedier decision-making to underpin progress.

“I want to be clear however that we will not take any decisions without the chance for councillors, local people and other interested parties to have their say with the exception of those deemed to be urgent in the public interest.”

Commissionera may also call public meetings on items of significant interest.

A new advisory cabinet of councillors led by council leader Coun Chris Read is also to support them as part of the process.

A council spokesman said the new system would be reviewed over coming months.