Decision making

The council adopts a decision-making process based on a committee system. All councillors meet together as the council. We normally open meetings of the council to the public. At these meetings, councillors decide overall policies and set the budget each year.

The council:

  • Allocates seats based on political proportionality
  • Considers items referred from the Policy and Services Committees
  • Makes appointments of the Chief Executive, Section 151 Officer and Monitoring Officer through a Staffing and Appeals Committee

Committees have responsibility for most major decisions. They comprise 15 councillors. When major decisions are to be discussed or made, we publish these in the Council's Forward Plan in so far as they can be anticipated. If these major decisions are to be discussed with council officers at a meeting of a committee, this will generally be open for the public to attend, except where personal or confidential matters are being discussed.

The committees have to make decisions which are in line with the council's overall policies and budget. If they wish to make a decision which outside of the approved budget or Policy Framework, this must be referred to the council as a whole to decide.

Separate committees carry out the council's other functions:

  • Planning Committee
  • Audit and Accounts Committee
  • Constitution and Ethics Committee
  • Other committees dealing mainly with appeals

Further details are set out in the Council's Constitution

All council services are run by professional officers. It is their duty to carry out the policies of the council and provide a high standard of public service at all times.

The council also works in partnership with other public services in the region, such as the police and NHS, to provide a unified approach to the county's social needs.

Corporate Code of Conduct

The council is responsible for:

  • ensuring that its business is conducted in accordance with the law and proper standards
  • ensuring that public money is safeguarded and properly accounted for and used economically, efficiently and effectively

Councillors and senior officers are responsible for establishing arrangements for the governance of the council's affairs and the stewardship of its resources (money, land and buildings).