How Council decisions are made

The Council operates Leader and Cabinet style 'executive arrangements'.

This means that the responsibility for decision making on most services such as education, highways, housing, leisure, libraries, parking, refuse collection, street cleansing and social services now rests with an Executive.

The Executive comprises the Leader of the Council and eight other leading members.

The full Council remains the forum where the Council's budget and policy framework are set. Councillors meet to debate issues of importance and question Executive members and committee chairmen.

Full details of the arrangements are contained in the Council's Constitution.

Executive arrangements

The full 60-member Council meets together and is responsible for determining the budget and policy framework for the Council and Council services.

This framework consists of a number of plans or strategies which are required, by law, to be included in the framework. Examples of legally required frameworks include the:

  • Local Implementation Plan
  • Children and Young People's Plan
  • Community Strategy
  • Crime and Disorder Reduction Strategy

The Council itself has decided to include the following:

  • Capital Strategy
  • The Housing Resources and Commitments Review
  • Asset Management Plan
  • Housing Revenue Account
  • Business Plan
  • Local Agenda 21 Strategy

The Executive

A body called the Executive is responsible for implementing policies, taking decisions about them and spending the budget. In effect, the Executive makes the key decisions about running Council services. 

The Executive consists of the Leader (elected by the Council) and eight other  'Cabinet Members' appointed by the leader. Each of the Cabinet Members is responsible for a 'remit' covering particular Council services and policy areas.

Further information is available including the members (known as 'Cabinet Members'), meeting dates and contact details.

Information on key decisions and policies is published monthly and is known as the Forward Plan.

The Executive consists of members only from the majority political group on the Council and its meetings are held in public.

Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Six Overview and Scrutiny Committees (OSCs) and one OSC sub-committee have been appointed to make recommendations to the Executive, scrutinise their decisions and assist in the development of policy in the following areas

In the case of the Adult Care and Health OSC, the remit also covers the operation of health services and consultation on proposals for development by NHS bodies.

The Health and Wellbeing Board is a partnership body between the Council and the health sector. The Council may delegate to it decisions on joint initiatives and services. 

Under Wandsworth's executive arrangements, all matters concerning Council services that are due to go to the Executive for decision will first be considered by the appropriate OSC.

Regulatory committees

Some functions are not the responsibility of the Executive, but remain the responsibility of the Council. The Council then delegates all but the most important decisions to the various committees.

These 'Regulatory' functions are dealt with by the:

By law, committees must be politically balanced.

The political groups are allocated seats in the same proportion as they are represented on the Council as a whole.

Delegated decisions

Directors of Council departments have a delegated authority to take decisions to operate Council services on a day-to-day basis without reference to Councillors. In addition, there are special arrangements where a decision is required urgently or is routine.

In these circumstances, Directors can take a decision even in cases which would normally require a report to a committee and/or the Executive, so long as they have consulted the relevant leading Councillors in advance.

Residents can also get involved by attending and speaking at committees.