A decision on council action may need to be made for a number of reasons. It could be a response to local pressures, national policy, or a predetermined council responsibility such as setting the budget.
When a decision is coming up, it will be listed on the council’s forward plan. This document contains details of all key decisions that are going to be taken by the Cabinet, individual cabinet members, and chief officers. This is published on a monthly basis and includes decisions for the next four months, as well as potential decisions for the next eight months.
As described earlier, Cabinet members will consider a decision at a meeting. If they agree a decision, there will be a 5 day period following this to allow the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to review it.
This is called a ‘call-in’. If the chair and three other members of the committee ask that a decision is ‘called-in’, this means that it can’t be implemented until the committee has considered it.
This system provides important checks and balances – it ensures that Cabinet cannot simply make a decision without all councillors having the chance to scrutinise it.
The committee has the power to recommend to Cabinet that they change their decision, or reconsider it. However the Cabinet do not have to do this if they wish to stand by their original decision.
Some decisions (extremely important ones) will then need to go to the full Council Assembly for approval. These include, but are not limited to, approving the policy framework (important strategies such as the Children and Young People’s Plan), setting the budget, and appointing a council Leader.