The Council is composed of 28 Councillors elected every four years. Councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their ward. The overriding duty of Councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.
Councillors have to agree to follow a code of conduct to ensure high standards in the way they undertake their duties. The Audit, Governance and Standards Committee has responsibility for probity issues.
All Councillors meet together as the Council. Meetings of the Council are normally open to the public. Here Councillors decide the Council’s overall policies and set the budget each year. The Council appoints the Leader who in turn appoints his/her Cabinet from amongst the elected Councillors. The Council also appoints councillors to its Scrutiny Committees, Regulatory Committees and the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee. Scrutiny Committees are the primary means of holding the Cabinet to account who in turn report direct to the Council.
The Cabinet is the part of the Council which is responsible for most day-to-day decisions. The Cabinet is made up of the Leader and five other Councillors who he/she appoints. When major decisions are to be discussed or made, these are published in the Cabinet’s forward plan where they can be anticipated. If these major decisions are to be discussed with Council officers at a meeting of the Cabinet, this will generally be open for the public to attend except where 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.
There is one Scrutiny Committee which supports the work of the Cabinet and the Council as a whole. It allows citizens to have a greater say in Council matters by holding public inquiries into matters of local concern. These lead to reports and recommendations which advise the Cabinet and the Council as a whole on its policies, budget and service delivery. The Scrutiny Committee also monitors the decisions of the Cabinet. They can ‘call-in’ a decision which has been made by the Cabinet and officers but not yet implemented. This enables them to consider whether the decision is appropriate. They may recommend that the Cabinet reconsider the decision. They may also be consulted by the Cabinet or the Council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.
Covering all aspects of internal and external audit, counter fraud and anti-corruption, monitoring of risk management Member and Officer probity and consideration of Corporate Governance.
Dealing with planning applications and planning enforcement matters.
Responsible for all Licensing matters that are not delegated to Officers and cannot be dealt with by Cabinet.
Also dealing with licensing and appeals hearings.