A WEYMOUTH Green Party councillor is to join Dorset Council’s Lib Dem controlled Cabinet.

Rodwell and Wyke councillor Clare Sutton will take up the children’s services, education and skills role.

Her appointment is not the only difference between the old and the new administrations – the outgoing Conservative Cabinet had no Weymouth Cabinet members with most of the group from the east and north of the county.

Council leader Cllr Nick Ireland says the move to offer Cllr Sutton a place demonstrates his party’s commitment to cross-party working, although neither the Independents or Labour is being offered a Cabinet position.

Several other Weymouth and Dorchester councillors will be sitting on the new Cabinet.

It was always anticipated the Conservatives would be frozen out after they failed to give any positions at Cabinet level to any other party during the past five years when they were in power.

The Lib Dem group is to make other changes discontinuing the role of ‘lead councillor’, introduced by the Conservatives in 2020, together with an annual payment of an additional £10,000 at the time, which has since risen to £10,454. They argued that the Lead Councillors were, in effect, deputies to the main portfolio holders.

Cllr Ireland, (Crossways), says the role of Lead Councillors is not necessary and will save the authority money.

The effect of the new positions when they were introduced part-way through the Conservative five-year term, together with extra payments for committee chairs and vice chairs, meant that very few Conservatives were on the basic councillor annual allowance.

Cllr Ireland says his team will manage without the lead councillor roles, bringing in assistance, if and when required, without additional renumeration, saving Dorset council taxpayers money.

His own position, as council leader, includes responsibility for performance, communications, the environment, climate change and safeguarding, Other Cabinet posts are  - Deputy leader and portfolio holder for property and assets, economic growth and levelling up, Dorchester councillor Richard Biggs.

Portfolio holder for finance, corporate assets and strategy, newly elected Chickerell councillor Simon Clifford.

Portfolio holder for corporate development, transformation, digital and change, Warham councillor Ryan Holloway.

Portfolio holder for Place which includes commissioned services, highways, waste and travel, Sherborne councillor Jon Andrews.

Portfolio holder for adult social services Cllr Steve Robinson, (Lytchett Matravers & Upton) who is newly elected.

Portfolio holder for public health, environmental health and housing Chickerell councillor Gill Taylor.

Portfolio holder for emergency planning, Wimborne councillor Shane Bartlett.

Portfolio holder for customer, culture and community engagement Weymouth councillor Ryan Hope.

Portfolio holder for children’s services, education and skills, Cllr Clare Sutton.

Said Cllr Ireland: “The Cabinet members chosen have a wide range of applicable skills and expertise to take forward and deliver on the issues we campaigned on.”

Other posts, including council chair, committee chairs and vice-chairs, as well as representatives on outside bodies will be elected at the council’s annual meeting in Dorchester this Thursday.