What’s in a name? Although it is possible for a woman to be an Honorary Alderman on Oxfordshire County Council they are now outnumbered six to one.
Section 249(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 “allows a Council to confer the title of Honorary Alderman on former Councillors who have, in the opinion of the Council, rendered eminent service to the Council as past members of that Council. This requires a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of the members voting on it at a meeting of the Council, specially convened for that purpose.”
At a first meeting of the newly elected County Council, former Labour County Councillor Margaret Ferriman, and now an Honorary Alderman, reported that the new County Council has already made a retrograde step.
“I am already an Honorary Alderman, and I continue in that role. I was one woman among three Aldermen but the other day three extra individuals were elected and now I am one amongst six.”
Aldermen perform a largely ceremonial role, which is to be cherished, but surely the County Councillors can make an effort to get at least a better gender balance.