How the council works

How we make decisions

Decisions are made within the governance framework set out in the council’s constitution. The approach to be followed when making decisions to engage the community is in the Access to Information rules. These are within Part C of the Constitution. The rules set out the information required to be made available. This is unless there is a legal basis for not including the information that's in the definitions in those rules.

At the Annual Meeting of Council in May, the Calendar of meetings will be made within the municipal year where -

  • agendas
  • background papers
  • minutes
  • officers’ reports

can be accessed and downloaded.

The way we provide information to decision-makers which informs decision-making can be found on CMIS.

Decision-making on behalf of the community can be separated into 3 parts -

Executive decision-making

All executive decisions of council fall within the responsibility of the Leader of Council. They are either taken by the Leader of Council or by -

  • cabinet
  • a Sub-Committee of Cabinet
  • an individual member of the executive

delegated through the Leader’s Scheme of Delegation.

The council determines the way in which decisions of the executive are to be taken. The principles and requirements must be followed when making a decision. These are set out in the Articles of the Constitution.

Decisions which are considered strategic in nature are classified as key decisions. The definition of a key decisions is set out at Article 8. If a decision falls within the definition of a key decisions, the council publish a Forward Plan Notice in advance. This confirms the intention to make such a decision. Providing the opportunity for the community to contribute to the proposal.

Pre-decision scrutiny of key decisions is undertaken by Scrutiny Commissions. Scrutiny commissions consist of members of council who are not members of the executive. They are appointed by council to hold the executive to account.

Forward Plan notices are considered by the overview and scrutiny management committee. This is where the chairs and deputy chairs of each scrutiny commission sit. In most instances, the draft report for a proposed key decision will be considered by the scrutiny commission. The directorate responsible for the report oversees this.

Members of the public may attend meetings of the scrutiny commissions. With the agreement of the committee, they can contribute to the discussion.

After consideration at the relevant scrutiny commission, the key decision report will be presented to cabinet or the decision maker for decision.

The timescales in which reports must be published are set out in the Access to Information rules. All reports to decision makers are published through the council’s website. They are on the agenda of the relevant committee.

Decisions that are made outside a committee meeting are published on the council’s website as Decision Records. This includes all decisions that are not classified as meeting the criteria for key decisions.

The same process is followed when executive decisions are taken together with other organisations through Joint Executive Committees.

Some decisions proposed need a review across a wider geography than the city standing. Joint Scrutiny Committees may be convened to fulfil that need.

Members of the public can receive automatic notifications. These will be updates on key steps in the decision-making process. For example, when decisions are made by subscribing to a CMIS Account.

Committees exercising non-executive powers that have been delegated to them by the council

The council handles determining the scheme of delegation for non-executive decisions. The Scheme of Delegation for a Committee exercising the powers of council set out in Part B of the Constitution.

Statutory and Regulatory Committees of the council take decisions. This is if statute has determined that the council will act as decision-maker on behalf of the community, such as planning and licensing. The membership of such committees is cross-party proportionate to the representation of political groups on the council, with one exception.

The exception is the Health and Wellbeing Board. This committee is a council committee. It includes representation from bodies able to contribute to the health and wellbeing of residents living in the city. This includes -

  • health bodies
  • Healthwatch
  • the voluntary sector

The members of council who are members of the committee are appointed by the leader.

Committees exercising both non-executive and executive powers delegated to them either by council or the executive

These committees are the council’s 3 Area Committees. Each committee comprises all the members who have been elected by the community to represent wards within the relevant area.

Area committees can exercise executive powers where the leader of council has delegated such executive powers. Any associated budget will be given to them to enable such decisions to be made.

Area committees can exercise the powers of council where the council has delegated such powers to an area committee.

The delegations to area committee are set out in Part B of the constitution.