'We don't need a badge or title' ... but Scarborough Council votes to make it easier to receive a civic honour

Scarborough Town Hall
Scarborough Town Hall

Scarborough Council has made it easier for former councillors to be named honorary aldermen of the borough after they leave the authority.

At present, councillors who have 16 years’ service on the authority, the equivalent of winning four terms, and have served as Mayor, a group leader or chairman of a committee are given the honour when they retire or lose their seat.

With May’s local elections closing in, where the council will drop from 50 seats to 46, the borough authority was looking to make the requirements easier.

A report that went before the council on Friday recommended keeping only the length of service requirement as the authority has reduced the number of committees it operates, reducing the chances of a member fulfilling the criteria.

The change was approved but not without debate.

Labour leader Cllr Steve Siddons backed calls from fellow Labour member Cllr Liz Colling for the title to be scrapped.

He said that “simply doing your job as a councillor is honour enough for a job well done and we don’t need a badge or a title.”

Cabinet member and independent councillor Mike Cockerill also argued against the change. He asked that the council adopted language used in the Local Government Act which says the title should be applied to people who have given “eminent service” to an authority.

He said the change to just a length of service requirement had a “demeaning effect” on the title.

Cllr Sandra Turner (Con) said the change “simplified” the criteria.

She added: “If residents of the borough have elected a member to this council four times then we need to listen to those residents.”

The years of service criteria will now be adopted starting after May’s local elections.