Our Constitution sets out how we operate. It includes how we make decisions and the procedures we follow to make sure that these are efficient, clear and accountable to local people.
The council political structure is based on a Leader and Cabinet model.
The council is made up of 55 councillors who are elected every 4 years. Their main duty is to represent the views of their community and constituents.
To view the current makeup of the council, see the Results of previous elections page.
All councillors meet 6 times a year at the full County Council meetings; which are normally open to the public. The role of the full Council is to:
- agree the budget
- agree the major plans (Policy Framework) and any changes to them
- approve changes to the Constitution
- appoint the Cabinet, Scrutiny Commission and all main bodies
- receive reports from the Cabinet and Scrutiny bodies
- give councillors a chance to direct questions toward the Cabinet, Chairmen of boards and committees.
- deal with Notices of Motion – where members can raise any issue for debate
Leader and Cabinet
The council appoints the Leader, who is usually the head of the largest political group. He or she then appoints the Cabinet. The Cabinet is responsible for all major decisions, and for making recommendations to the Council on the budget and the major plans.
Overview and Scrutiny
There are a number of permanent Overview and Scrutiny committees. Their membership comprises of councillors who are not on the Cabinet. They give advice to the Cabinet and Council as a whole. They also monitor the decisions made by the Cabinet. Members of the public can attend these meetings, ask questions or present petitions.
The councillors who are not members of the Cabinet are instead involved in committees (sometimes known as boards) in the Regulatory area.
These boards and committees take decisions on non-executive areas. This includes tasks like licensing, planning and elections.
Scrutiny Review Panels
County councillors are also involved in developing and reviewing policies through review panels. The panels are not formal committees, but their final reports are usually made public once their findings are presented.
The Chief Executive is Mr. John Sinnott. You can find details of other Chief Officers.