Decision making

The Council will issue and keep up to date a record of what part of the Council or which individual has responsibility for particular types of decisions or decisions relating to particular areas or functions.

This record is set out in Part 3 of the Council Constitution.

Principles of decision making

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

  1. Proportionality (i.e. the action must be proportionate to the desired outcome);
  2. Due consultation and the consideration of professional advice from officers;
  3. Respect for human rights;
  4. A presumption in favour of openness;
  5. Clarity of aims and desired outcomes; and
  6. The legal test of reasonableness (i.e. the decision must not be so unreasonable that no reasonable Council could have reached it, having taken into account all relevant considerations, and having ignored irrelevant considerations).

Decision making by Council bodies acting as tribunals

The Council, a committee or sub-committee, Councillor or an officer acting as a tribunal or in a quasi judicial manner or determining/considering (other than for the purposes of giving advice) the civil rights and obligations or the criminal responsibility of any person will follow a proper procedure which accords with the requirements of natural justice and the right to a fair trial contained in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Key decisions

Whilst a number of decisions are reserved to the Council itself (which are listed in Part 3 of the Constitution, and include major items such as approving the level of council tax) and many more decisions might be classed as routine, there are certain procedures to be followed in relation to key decisions.

A key decision means an executive decision (one taken by the Cabinet or an individual member of it) which is likely to:

  1. Result in the local authority incurring expenditure which is, or the making of savings which are, significant having regard to the local authority’s budget for the service or function to which the decision relates; or
  2. Be significant in terms of its effect on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards or electoral divisions in the area of the local authority;

Key decisions will include:

  1. Any decision of the Cabinet incurring expenditure or making savings in excess of 10% of the relevant budget head or £500,000, whichever is the smaller, unless the specific expenditure or saving has previously been agreed in full Council or it is a decision taken in accordance with the Council’s Treasury Management Policy OR
  2. Any decision of the Cabinet which, in the view of the Leader of the Council, will have a significant effect on a significant number of people.

In addition to the above, and for the avoidance of doubt, any decision approving proposals for the making of a plan or budget which requires the approval of the full Council will be treated as a key decision.

Any decision-taker may only make a key decision in accordance with the requirements of the various Procedure Rules set out in Part 4 of the Constitution.