Summary of the Decision Making Process and Constitution of the County Council
The Constitution sets out how the County Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. A summary of the decision making process embodied in the Constitution is set out below.
- County Councillors
- Full County Council
- Leader and Executive
- Overview and Scrutiny
- Review Panels
- Scrutiny of the Health Service
The County Council is composed of 55 county councillors elected every four years. County councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their electoral division. The overriding duty of county councillors in their representational role is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.
All county councillors meet together as the full County Council. Meetings of the full County Council are normally open to the public. Here county councillors decide the County Council’s overall policies and set the Budget (which includes the annual revenue budget and capital programme) each year. The full County Council also approves the Policy Framework which comprises a series of major Plans.
The County Council appoints the Leader who in turn appoints the Cabinet. The Leader will usually be the leader of the largest political group on the County Council. The Leader and the other members of the Cabinet together constitute the “Executive”. The Executive is the part of the County Council which is responsible for the more important executive decisions needed to implement the Policy Framework and Budget approved by the County Council.
Those county councillors who are not members of the Executive will make a contribution to the operation of the County Council through membership of the County Council’s committees (some of which are called “boards”) - in the “Regulatory” (including Corporate Governance) and “Overview and Scrutiny” areas.
The boards and committees in the Regulatory area will take decisions on “non-executive” functions (such as licensing, planning, elections and members’ allowances) which are outside the scope of the Executive.
Within the Regulatory Area, a Business Pool comprising of a number of Panels operate to exercise both executive and non-executive functions.
There are standing (i.e. permanent) Overview and Scrutiny committees - the Scrutiny Commission and two overview and scrutiny committees, one dealing with Children & Young People's Service and one with Adult Social Care & Health. These overview and scrutiny committees support the work of the Executive and the County Council as a whole. At their meetings citizens may ask questions and present petitions, provided that they have followed the correct procedures. The committees produce reports and recommendations which advise the Executive and the County Council as a whole on its policies, budget and service delivery. Overview and scrutiny committees also monitor the decisions of the Executive.
County councillors will also contribute to policy formulation and review through membership of ad hoc review panels. The purpose of these panels is not to exercise any formal powers associated with overview and scrutiny but to contribute to and inform the overview and scrutiny process. The panels will, therefore, not constitute formal committees but will meet in private; however, their final reports will usually become public when they are presented to the Executive and/or relevant overview and scrutiny committees.
Social Services Authorities such as the County Council are required to establish arrangements to review and scrutinise matters relating to the Health Service in the authority’s area and to make reports and recommendations.
The County Council Adults, Communities and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee scrutinises the activities of health bodies in the County. The County Council has established a joint committee with the Leicester City Council and Rutland Council, as Social Services Authorities, to scrutinise health bodies with responsibility for health service functions across the area of the three authorities.
The above arrangements are embodied in the Constitution of Leicestershire County Council.
You can view a diagram that illustrates the Council's Structure and Roles based on a Leader and Cabinet model.
Page Last Updated: 6 November 2012