Who makes the decisions?
The Council operates a style of governance similar to the Parliamentary style. All 63 elected councillors meet together as the full council. They make key decisions on the Council's future, policies and strategies as well as setting the budget each year and the level of Council tax. The Council appoints a Leader of the Council and a Cabinet, Overview and Scrutiny Committees, Regulatory Committees, a Standards Committee and other advisory and consultative bodies.
Leader and Cabinet
The Leader and Cabinet are at the heart of the day-to-day decision-making process. They have considerable freedom and responsibilities but operate within an overall framework set by the full Council. The Cabinet is made up of the Leader of the Council and up to nine other Members of the Council. The Leader of the Council provides overall leadership to the Council.
Cabinet members each have a "portfolio", like government ministers, and these portfolios cover all areas of the Council.
The Cabinet meets at least once a month and takes decisions within a framework of policies and the budget set by the full Council. More information about the Cabinet can be found on the menu on the right hand side.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees
The Leader and Cabinet have quite far-reaching powers and so mechanisms have been put in place to check on what they do. Their decisions will be scrutinised by the councillors who are not in the Cabinet.
There are seven Overview and scrutiny committees covering the themes mentioned above, which review cabinet decisions and policies.
There are some areas where committees of the Council make decisions. These are mostly "regulatory" matters, where applications are made and permissions granted.
Five regulatory committees are responsible for defined activities:
More information about these committees can be found by selecting the links above or in the right hand menu.
There is also a Standards Committee which ensures that all councillors maintain high standards of conduct. It will also oversee the Employee code of Conduct.
Local consultative forums
Listening to local views is a priority for the Council. Forums are an important point of contact and can present local views to councillors.