A CABINET reshuffle has commenced - including the appointment of a new deputy leader of Barnsley Council - after Labour extended its majority in the local elections earlier this month.
Caroline Makinson, a long-serving Royston ward councillor, took over from Chris Lamb - who has retired - as deputy to Sir Steve Houghton.
Coun Makinson - who is the first female deputy leader to serve on the council - was first elected to the Royston ward in a by-election when Coun Graham Kyte stepped down in 2013.
Having served as mayor in 2020, she has had stints on several key boards including the overview and scrutiny committee and planning, whilst recently securing a place on the cabinet as spokesperson for public health and communities.
Coun Makinson’s colleagues voted her in following a ballot.
She told the Chronicle: “I put my name forward for the deputy leader role as I thought my experience would suit it well - I think in ten years I’ve done a lot on multiple committees so I have a good knowledge bank.
“Chris has been a great deputy leader in the last year and obviously the late Jim Andrews - his predecessor - was very well-respected.
“I was thrilled to be recognised by my colleagues in the ballot and I can’t wait to get started.”
Couns Sharon Howard, Robin Franklin, Jo Newing, Wendy Cain, Trevor Cave, James Higginbottom and Robert Frost have been announced as cabinet members.
They will be backed by Anita Cherryholme, Roy Bowser, Sue Bellamy, Margaret Sheard, Ashley Peace, Kevin Osborne and Janine Moyes, who are all support members.
The announcement will be made official at a Barnsley Town Hall meeting this evening.
Sir Steve said: “It was a great night for Labour at the elections and I’m pleased we’re now able to move forward with the revised cabinet.
“The biggest change is Coun Lamb’s retirement and Coun Makinson being appointed as the deputy leader - she brings a wealth of experience to the role.
“She’s served in the Royston ward for many years and has also had a stint as the mayor, as well as serving on the cabinet beforehand.
“The cabinet is a strong one and allows us to improve our decision-making processes before matters go to full council.”
However, campaigners who have supported an 800-strong petition have renewed hope of forcing change as to how the cabinet makes decisions following the election.
The Democracy For Barnsley group want Barnsley to follow Sheffield in having a committee-style system - with an emphasis on residents’ views being sought on key decisions - and a change of the hand-picked roster.
The same change, which has been implemented in Sheffield following concern from residents, sees a cross-party committee deliberate over plans and schemes through a committee system.
Mike Smith, who started the petition, added: “Other councils have already stopped using the undemocratic system of decision-making currently used by Barnsley Council and have changed to use a modern committee system.
“We are not members of any political party but believe everyone has the right to be involved in the democratic processes that affect all our lives.
“Our intentions are to give a voice to the people of Barnsley, voices that councillors will have to listen to and act upon.
“Councillors will have to consult with constituents before decisions are made by the full council instead of one person making the decisions, without consultation, as is the case at the moment.
“It is solely about improving the democratic rights of everyone by changing the way we are governed from a top-down, single group making all decisions to one which involves all those eligible to vote.”