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Constitution - Part 2 - Governance - How we run the Council and make decisions

Guide to Decision Making

1.1 All decisions of the Council will be made in accordance with the following principles:

(a) Proportionality (i.e. the action must be proportionate to the desired outcome);

(b) Due consultation and the taking of professional advice from Officers;

(c) Respect for human rights;

(d) A presumption in favour of openness and reasonableness
 
(e) Clarity of aims and desired outcomes; and

(f) An explanation of what options considered and the reasons for the final decision.

2.1 The County Council's decision making structure is summarised below.

Decisions that can only be made by Full Council

2.2 Decisions relating to the functions listed in Part 2A of this Constitution will be made only by the Council. 

Key Decisions

2.3 A key decision is significant in terms of expenditure or savings if it relates to a matter which exceeds £ 500,000 in value, except those decisions taken by:

(i) the Chief Executive or Assistant Director - Finance under delegated authority in connection with treasury management;

(ii) the Corporate Director - Children and Families Services or the Corporate Director - Health Care and Community Services under delegated authority in relation to care plans for individual children and young people or adults;

OR

Significant in terms of its effect on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more electoral divisions if it would change, or proposes changes to, the way in which services are used or provided.  Significant in this context means important or far reaching. 

Examples would include proposals for changing the character of a school, closing down or opening Council services, and major changes in transport arrangements affecting an area.  This is not an exhaustive list of, and in considering whether a decision is a 'key decision', for the purposes of the Regulations the Council seeks to apply the principle that the public in the area affected should not be taken by surprise by the proposed decision.


2.4 A decision taker may only make a key decision in accordance with the requirements of the Access to Information Procedure Rules set out in Part 5D of this Constitution. (paragraph 13-17).

2.5 Generally, key decisions will only be made by the Cabinet, a committee of the Cabinet, a joint committee, a Local Committee or a Corporate Director. No officer other than a Corporate Director can take a key decision. For the avoidance of doubt if a Corporate Director is not able to take a decision and the decision cannot wait then the Chief Executive may take the decision instead.

Decision Making by the Council

2.6 The Council meeting will follow the Council rules set out in Part 5A of this Constitution when considering any matter.

Decision Making by the Cabinet  

2.7 The Cabinet will follow the Cabinet Procedure Rules set out in Part 5B of this Constitution when considering any matter.

Decision Making by Scrutiny Advisory Boards and the Health Scrutiny Committee

2.8 Scrutiny Advisory Boards and the Health Scrutiny Committee will follow the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules set out in Part 5C of this Constitution when considering any matter.

Decision making by Other Committees established by the Council

2.9 Local and Other Committees will follow those parts of the Council rules set out in Part 5A of this Constitution as apply to them (paragraph 23).