The Council is composed of 34 councillors elected every four years. Councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their ward.
All councillors meet together as the Council. Here, councillors decide the council’s overall policies and set the budget each year. Decisions which are outside of the budget or policy framework have to be referred to Council. Other items reserved for Council include adopting and amending the constitution, approving or adopting the policy framework, setting the budget, appointing the Leader of Council, electing the Mayor and appointing the Deputy Mayor and retaining overall responsibility for regulatory functions.
Many of the functions which are the direct responsibility of Council rather than the Executive are administered by committees or panels which consist of a lesser number of councillors than 34. For example, the Planning Committee determines the ‘quasi-judicial’ functions such as development control.
The full Council generally meets every eight weeks, and meetings are open to the public, except where private matters are to be discussed.
The Executive carries out all of the local authority’s functions which are not the responsibility of any other part of the local authority, whether by law or under the constitution, acting as the council’s Executive.
The Executive consists of the Leader of Council together with seven other councillors appointed by the Leader.
The Executive generally meets every eight weeks, and meetings are open to the public, except where private matters are to be discussed.
The Council appoints the Scrutiny Commission and Finance & Performance Scrutiny to discharge functions conferred by the Local Government Act 2000.
Committees of the overview & scrutiny function have the aim of improving services to the public and on their behalf by looking at internal and external issues and organisations and providing a ‘critical friend’ role to the Executive.
The Scrutiny Commission and Finance & Performance Scrutiny meet approximately every eight weeks, and meetings are open to the public, except where private matters are to be discussed.