The Council is composed of 48 councillors elected every four years. Councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their ward. The overriding duty of councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them. Councillors have to agree to follow a code of conduct to ensure high standards in the way they undertake their duties. The Standards and Audit Committee trains and advises them on the code of conduct.
All Councillors meet together as the Council. Meetings of the Council are normally open to the public. Here councillors decide the Council’s overall policies and set the budget each year
How Decisions Are Made
The Cabinet is the part of the authority which is responsible for most day-to-day decisions. The Cabinet is made up of the Leader and seven councillors. Before major decisions are to be discussed or made, these are published in the Cabinet's forward plan in so far as they can be anticipated. These major decisions are called "key decisions"
There is a Scrutiny Forum and two Scrutiny Committees which support the work of the Cabinet and the Council as a whole. They allow citizens to have a greater say in Council matters by holding public inquiries into matters of local concern.
The Scrutiny Bodies may also be consulted by the Cabinet or the Council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.