Opposition councillors claim they could be locked out of making decisions for the city in a proposed shake-up of how the council is run.

The Labour administration on Brighton and Hove City Council is proposing a move from a committee system to a cabinet system, which is used by the majority of local councils in England.

The Argus understands that a detailed report will be presented to councillors on the strategy, finance and city regeneration committee for consideration on March 14, before being put before full council on March 28 for approval.

A provisional start date for the new system, subject to approval, is set for May 16, roughly one year after Labour secured majority control of the city council.

Although a cabinet system can allow for faster decision-making, opposition and backbench councillors can sometimes feel excluded.

Council leader Bella Sankey said: “We are under a duty to keep our governance arrangements under review and having looked at the various options available to local councils, we are proposing a move to the cabinet model of governance at Brighton and Hove, following in the footsteps of most other local authorities, including many successful Labour-led ones.

“Above all else, we want to engage meaningfully with residents and deliver for our city at pace, including on the priorities in our manifesto, which is the platform on which we stood and secured a majority.

“With this mandate from residents, we owe it to them to ensure the governance arrangements of the council reflect its political make-up and are fit for purpose.

“I am confident that moving to a cabinet model will improve our ability to lead the organisation and help us to deliver the policy commitments we set out in our manifesto more efficiently.

“One of the fundamental principles of the move will be greater openness and engagement with the public. As we move forward with this process, we will be seeking residents' views on how we best do this under the new model.”

However, the Green Party have criticised the move as “hugely disappointing… but sadly not surprising”.

Councillor Steve Davis, leader of the Green group on the city council, said: “Since securing a majority last May - a majority it is worth noting that was only achieved with less than half the votes cast in the city, Labour have seemed determined to limit the opportunity for opposition councillors to scrutinise decision making.

“Once the move to a cabinet system is confirmed, the likelihood is that decisions taken on the future of the city will now be taken by a handful of Labour councillors.

“That is a further backward step following previous changes which limited the ability of opposition councillors - councillors who collectively represent more than half the voters in this city - to table notices of motion or influence council proceedings.

“The upshot of this should be clear to Labour leadership and residents alike: every decision taken by the council, every cut to a valued service and every unpopular policy is on Labour.”