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How decisions are made

How decisions are made

The decision making process, decision making bodies, links to individual decisions and taking part in the process.

Full Council

Full Council has the ultimate responsibility for decision making. It sets the policy and budgetary framework within which the executive and non-executive committees must operate and then delegates responsibility to them to actually make most of the decisions. The terms of reference of council bodies are set out in the Council’s Constitution.

The Executive (Cabinet)

The Executive is the part of the Council which is responsible for most day-to-day decisions.  The Executive is made up of the Leader of the Council (elected by the Council) and between 2 and 9 executive councillors (appointed by the Leader). Together they form the Executive or Cabinet.  When decisions are to be discussed or made, these are published in the Executive’s forward plan in so far as they can be anticipated. If these decisions are to be discussed with council officers and decided at a meeting of the Cabinet, this will generally be open for the public to attend except where confidential or exempt 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.

Decisions can also be made by individual executive councillors on matters within their “portfolio” of responsibilities. Proposed decisions of executive councillors are also published in the Executive’s forward plan in so far as they can be anticipated. Proposed decisions by executive councillors are published at least five clear working days before they are made.

Decisions by non-executive committees

Various non-executive committees are appointed by the Council to make decisions on those matters which cannot be the responsibility of the Executive (e.g. development control, licensing and public rights of way).

The decisions being recommended to non-executive committees are set out in officer reports in the agenda papers, and the decisions actually made by the committees are set out in the approved minutes of the meetings which considered those officer reports. You can look for the agenda of individual committee meetings.

Overview and scrutiny

The Council appoints a Scrutiny Commission to be responsible for overview and scrutiny, and for being the principal means of holding the Executive to account.

Council officers

Many day-to-day decisions, always within agreed policies are delegated to the directors of the council who may then sub-delegate to their officers. These are known as delegated powers.

Taking part yourself

All formal public committee meetings have an agenda item called ‘Items from the public’ where you are welcome to speak for up to five minutes and make your views known to councillors. There may also be journalists present, so your views might get wider coverage. You can speak about anything that is within the subject of the meeting. Call Democratic Services for more information on 01454 864117.

Parish/town councils

Some parts of South Gloucestershire have parish/town councils. They have their own decision-making processes.

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