Governance - How council decisions are made
Last updated: 07/10/2013
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What is Governance?
Governance is how the Council operates and makes decisions. It
makes sure that decisions take public opinion into account, reflect
and respond to the needs of local people and are transparent and
View our bite size
guide to governance or read on for more detailed
Our system of governance
We have 123 councillors representing Cornwall
and together they form full Council.
Full Council meets approximately every six weeks. They set
the budget for the year as well as the business plan, which sets
out the policies and plans the Council wants to achieve.
Our governance structure is a leader and modified
cabinet. Full Council elects a Leader who is then
re-elected annually. The Leader chooses nine councillors to
form a Cabinet. The Cabinet’s responsibilities are divided up
into portfolios and each cabinet member is responsible for a
portfolio of work. The Leader and Cabinet take decisions to deliver
the business plan and these must be within the budget set by full
View the Governance
Model diagram in more detail.
Portfolio Advisory Committee (PAC)
For each Portfolio area, there is a Portfolio Advisory Committee
(PAC). They provide support and challenge to the portfolio holders.
Each PAC has 10 non executive members and is chaired by a
nominated councillor who is not the portfolio holder. These
committees enable councillors to participate more widely in
policy development and performance management. They also
provide an opportunity to have discussions on work undertaken by
Councillors through partnerships and other organisations the
Council is involved with. Directors and other chief officers may
also attend as and when requested.
Members of the PAC can ask questions of the portfolio holder as
can members of the public . The PACs provide an opportunity to put
issues on the full Council agenda and will act as the hub for the
majority of business associated with the specified portfolio
Scrutiny is set up to review and challenge Cabinet and the
wider Council and is made up
of appointed councillors. There is a Scrutiny
Management Committee and a Health and Social Care Scrutiny
The Health and Social Care Scrutiny will be responsible for
setting up select committees to do detailed challenge work within
the remit of health and social care.
The Management Committee will look at all other work
including statutory responsibilities. Detailed work will
be carried out by Parliamentary style select committees, which will
look at specific areas of work as and when necessary.
Scrutiny can call witnesses, ask detailed questions and will
issue its report to the relevant decision maker. Scrutiny can
challenge decisions of Cabinet and individual Cabinet Members by a
process known as ‘call in’. Scrutiny may also
respond to specific requests from councillors.
There is a wider pool of members that can be drawn upon to
form working groups which review and scrutinise specific areas of
work on request.
There are a number of other committees which are required by
law. These statutory committees include:
- Governance and Constitution
Our decision making process, as described above, is new for
2013. It has been implemented as a result of a full review of our governance
arrangements. This was undertaken as an opportunity to
investigate ways in which non cabinet members could play a greater
role in shaping and influencing the policies and decisions of the
council. It will also help strengthen the relationship between the
portfolio holders on the Cabinet and the wider Council membership.
Our former governance arrangements had been in place since
becoming a unitary authority in 2009.