Our Constitution and Political Framework
The Council adopted a new constitution under the Local Government Act 2000 in June 2001. The constitution applies the Leader and Cabinet model. This model was overwhelmingly endorsed by over 80% of the respondents to the public consultation exercise required by the Government and was accepted by them. The model had been piloted from September 1999.
The decision-making framework in the approved constitution is as follows:
Regulatory Bodies. These are politically balanced and carry out functions which the Executive cannot undertake. The Development Control and Regulatory Board deals with planning and licensing.
These review and scrutinise decisions, particularly the work of the Executive and can ask questions before and after decisions are made. Through these bodies residents can put forward petitions and questions to the Council. These bodies must reflect the political balance on the Council and cannot include members of the Executive.
Scrutiny of County Council
These review and scrutinise decisions, particularly the work of the Executive and can ask questions before and after decisions are made. Through these bodies residents can put forward petitions and questions to the Council.
Scrutiny of the Health Service
These bodies exist to review and scrutinise matters relaing to the planning, provision and operation of Health Services in the area of the County.
The Executive (Cabinet) has a Leader and 9 members appointed by the Council. It provides direction and leadership for the Council and carries out all of the functions which are not specifically given to any other body. It makes recommendations to the full Council on proposed changes to the Policy Framework and in relation to the budget.
The Chairman of the Scrutiny Commission is the Leader of the (main) opposition party.
These review specific activities and aim to achieve continuous improvements in services
Within this framework:
The County Council is responsible for the final decisions on the policy framework and budgets, including the structure and process which enables all County Councillors to contribute in different ways to the Council’s business, as follows:
The Cabinet take collective decisions relating to the implementation of policies and plans previously approved by the County Council. Under the Constitution approved by the Council individual members of the Cabinet take ‘lead Member’ roles for particular service areas, but do not have personal executive powers.
Scrutiny bodies co-ordinated by the Scrutiny Commission advise on policies and plans being submitted to the Council and ensure that the Cabinet and officers acting under delegated powers are held to account.
The Scrutiny Committees cover broad service areas.
A number of Regulatory bodies deal with business outside the remit of the Cabinet, e.g. planning applications. These include a Standards Committee which deals with Standards of Conduct within the Council.
Individual County Councillors are encouraged to represent their electoral divisions in an effective manner.
The political composition of the Council is as follows, the last County Council elections were held in June 2001:
This was the first time in 20 years that a single party had achieved an overall majority on the County Council. As the single largest party, the Conservative Group established itself as the Administration of the County Council. The Conservative Group therefore occupies all places on the Cabinet. All other bodies within the decision-making framework listed above are filled in proportion to the political representation of the political groups on the Council as a whole.
Page Last Updated: 30 June 2003