2016 Governance review of Cornwall Council

Who decides?

Cornwall Council makes decisions about a wide range of issues that affect Cornwall, our residents and business owners.

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The processes for how decisions are made within the Council about the services we provide are an important part of our ‘Governance’.

As part of the 2016 Governance Review we asked people in Cornwall for their views about how decisions are made about issues that affect them, their family and Cornwall.

We looked at how the Council operates and makes decisions about the services we provide.

The Review took public opinion into account to reflect and respond to the needs of local people.

The Councils review, known as the ‘Governance Review’ was led by the Council’s Constitution and Governance Committee who made recommendations to the Council.

An independent external panel, known as the Governance Review External Group (GREG) also gathered evidence for the Committee to consider.  This included getting the views of partner organisations, and town and parish councils and explored how different models of decision making works in other councils.

The Review looked at three possible models:

  • Leader and Cabinet system
  • Elected Mayor and Cabinet system
  • Committee system

View and download a leaflet with graphics of the models.

You can watch a film about the different models using the links below:

In considering the different models, the review looked at the role of local members and how we work alongside town and parish councils and other organisations in Cornwall.

The review was led by the Council’s Constitution and Governance Committee who made recommendations to the Council.

An independent external panel, known as the Governance Review External Group (GREG), gathered evidence during a series of inquiry days from a wide range of individuals and organisations in a variety of ways.

You can view the evidence gathered by the GREG using the links below

Key recommendations from the GREG report included:

  • A new Leadership Board for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, to be chaired by the Council Leader, bringing together senior representatives of  public services, businesses and the voluntary and community sectors.  This new Leadership Board would be tasked with taking a joined up and long-term approach to the challenges facing Cornwall  and to make the most of opportunities that arise
  • That there is no compelling argument to create a new post of elected Mayor of Cornwall.
  • A challenge to review the important relationship between Cornwall Council and the 213 Town and Parishes , including the current Community Network arrangements, which  are not considered to be working effectively   The report strongly advises that the Council works with town and parishes to reform these Community Network arrangements  or else they are scrapped and replaced by something that makes a positive difference to locality working .
  • That the overwhelming evidence available from all quarters shows  the passion, commitment and hard work of Cornwall Councils’ 123 elected Members – the largest number in any council in the country.  However, GREG  concluded that whilst these elected Members are very busy and hard-working, they appear to be spending a disproportionate amount of their time dealing with the symptoms of issues as they crop up at a local level, at the expense of taking a more strategic approach to  addressing the underlying causes. They were also  often left feeling disengaged from the big decisions taken at New County Hall.  As such,  GREG  proposed that the Local Government Boundary Commission consider a significantly smaller number of elected members for the elections in 2021 alongside other options.
  • Cutting the number of committees undertaking policy development and scrutiny functions within  the Council, and making  them focus more on matters of greater  priority to the public.
  • Urging the Council to get out more to people where they are, and to rely less on people turning up at what they termed ‘Town Hall talks’.  In particular, GREG  urges the Council to work hard at getting more young people involved in the civic life of Cornwall, playing  a stronger role in shaping the big decisions that affect their lives.