Decision making

The Council

The Council is composed of 58 councillors who serve on the council for a four-year term. All councillors meet together as the council every eight weeks. Here councillors decide the council's overall policies and set the budget each year.

The Cabinet

Every year the council elects one of its members to be the leader and appoints nine other councillors - one as the deputy leader - to form a Cabinet.

The Cabinet is responsible for the formulation of the council's corporate strategy. The strategy sets the context for the executive board to propose how services should be organised and Council.

Forward plan

The forward plan allows elected members, officers of the council and members of the public to be kept up to date about important decisions that are to be made and provides details of where further information can be obtained.

Regulatory committees

There are certain roles that the executive board may not perform, for example approving or declining planning or licensing applications. The full council will establish special 'regulatory committees' to carry out these roles.

Policy and scrutiny

The council has five policy and scrutiny committees:

They take a lead role in reviewing council policy and strategy. They monitor the decisions of the executive board to make sure they are compatible with the budget and policy framework. They also review the performance of the executive board and the council as a whole and make recommendations to improve services.

Smaller scrutiny working groups look at issues in more detail. They gather evidence and question witnesses to produce reports making recommendations to the council's executive board and any other relevant bodies. 


The Council Constitution [pdf] puts into words how the political structure works and sets out:

  • the tasks that each part of the political structure performs; and
  • how they perform them