The Localism Act 2011 give councils with a population of over 85,000, the option of two models on which to develop a local constitution. These models are:
- Executive arrangements
- A committee system.
Following a public consultation exercise the we unanimously resolved to adopt a Leader and Cabinet (Executive) model. The Council also agreed a constitution that sets out how we will operate and the procedures that are followed to ensure that decision making is efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Some of the processes are required by the law, while others are a matter for the Council to choose.
The constitution comprises a number of sections:
- Part 1 describes the Principles on which the constitution is founded;
- Part 2 describes 15 Articles of Governance that set out how the constitution will operate; and
- Parts 3-7 provide further detail as to the operation of the constitution.
The Principles (Part 1) can only be changed by 75% of the members (present at a meeting of the Council) voting to approve such changes, or if there is a statutory requirement. The Articles of Governance (Part 2) and the document comprising Parts 3-7 can be changed by a simple majority of the members (present at a meeting of the Council) voting to approve such changes.
Part 1 of the Constitution explains the aims and objectives of the Council and sets out five Principles of Governance under which the Council will operate. These relate to: -
- The Council
- The Leader and Cabinet
- Standing Committees
- Area Forums
Part 2 sets out fifteen Articles of Governance, which describe the rights of citizens and how the key parts of the Council operate. These are: -
- Members of the Council (Article 1)
- Citizens and the Council (Article 2)
- The Council Meeting (Article 3)
- Chairing the Council (Article 4)
- Scrutiny of Decisions (Article 5)
- The Cabinet (Article 6)
- Regulatory and Other Committees (Article 7)
- The Standards Committee (Article 8)
- Area Fora (Article 9)
- Joint Arrangements (Article 10)
- Officers (Article 11)
- Decision Making (Article 12)
- Finance, Contract and Legal Matters (Article 13)
- Review and Revision of the Constitution (Article 14)
- Suspension, Interpretation and Publication of the Constitution (Article 15)
Parts 3-7 provide further detailed information on certain aspects of the Constitution. These are: -
- Responsibility for Functions (Part 3)
- Rules of Procedure (Part 4)
- Codes of Conduct and Protocols for Members and Officers (Part 5)
- Members' Allowances Scheme (Part 6)
- Management Structure (Part 7)
Responsibility for maintaining the constitution rests with the Borough Solicitor.