The Council has adopted a written Constitution which sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Freedom of Information Act 2000. Publication Scheme.
The Cabinet, Cabinet Members and Directors are responsible for most day-to-day decisions within the Council. The Cabinet is made up of the Leader and up to nine other Councillors (Cabinet Members) appointed by the Council. When major decisions are to be discussed or made, these are published in the Council's Forward Plan in so far as they can be anticipated.
If these major decisions are to be discussed at a meeting of the Cabinet, this will generally be open for the public to attend except where exempt, personal or confidential matters are being discussed. The Cabinet has to make decisions which are in line with the Council’s overall policies and budget. If it wishes to make a decision which is outside the budget or policy framework, this must be referred to the Council as a whole to decide.
The Council has people working for it (called ‘officers’) to give advice, implement decisions and manage the day-to-day deliver of its services. Some officers have a specific duty to ensure that the Council acts within the law and uses its resources wisely in line with the rules and procedures laid down in the Constitution and other policies and procedures.
Five Select Committees support the work of the Council as a whole. They carry out important ‘overview and scrutiny’ functions in relation to decisions made by the Cabinet, Cabinet Members and officers. Select Committees provide for greater public scrutiny of decisions by holding decision makers to account and undertaking reviews on matters of local concern. These may lead to reports and recommendations to advise the Cabinet and the Council as a whole on its policies, budget and service delivery. Select Committees can “call-in” decisions which have been made but not yet implemented. This enables them to consider whether the decision is appropriate or whether the decision maker should be asked to reconsider their decision. Select Committees may also consider the impact of decisions taken or be consulted on specific matters, forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.
In order to give local citizens a greater say in Council affairs, 5 Area Committees have been created. The main purpose is to provide an opportunity for local issues to be discussed locally. The Area Committees are also consulted on a range of matters and they control a budget to be spent in their area. They involve Councillors for the electoral wards in each particular area and are held in public.