Councillors who want to ‘win’ on an issue can inappropriately exert pressure on the administration to recommend supporting a particular view.
Susan strongly believes that a new housing development should contain expensive environmentally sustainable features. She thinks her fellow councillors will support the idea if the administration makes the recommendation. She’s been calling the relevant director and various council officers constantly trying to persuade them that the environmental features should be included in the recommendations to council. She’s also attempted to put pressure on them at task group and public meetings.
The administration’s role is to provide ‘frank and fearless’ advice to the council. This should be based on information, consultation and professional opinion. It should not be the result of pressure from councillors. Councillors will expect to be given high-quality, impartial advice and information, which will help them to form an opinion and make a decision in the council meeting. The challenge for councillors, who are pushing strongly for a particular decision, is to persuade their fellow councillors to support their view. They should not try to influence the final decision by pressuring the administration to support a particular view via its recommendation.