Council decision making
The Council has adopted the Leader and Cabinet (Executive) model of executive arrangements, in which the overall budget and policy framework is determined by Full Council (all 60 councillors) with the Leader and Cabinet responsible for most day-to-day decisions. Major decisions for the coming months can be found in the Forward Plan.
The Leader and a Cabinet, comprising 7 other councillors, is appointed annually by the Council Leader. Each Cabinet Member is responsible for a particular portfolio of responsibilities. Key decisions are generally made by the Cabinet as a whole, although sometimes, where there are no implications for other services, decisions may be made by individual Cabinet Members.
There are eight Cabinet members (including the Leader of the Council) with portfolios agreed by the Council. The Cabinet works within the policy of collective responsibility and its functions are to:
- Discharge all the functions of the authority which are not required by legislation to be discharged by the Full Council.
- Subject to any regulations made by the Secretary of State,
- Implement the Council's policies in accordance with the Council's policy framework and budget, the Council's financial rules and regulations.
- Make recommendations on major policy and resources matters for decision by the Council (within the current legal framework).
- Advise on decisions under delegated authority which require full Cabinet consultation; other significant policy matters affecting functions are discussed with individual Cabinet members within the Cabinet member's portfolio.
- Give political direction and guidance to, and monitor the performance of officers, who are responsible for managing and delivering services).
- Provide political accountability for the Council's performance to the Council and to Scrutiny Committees; to foster and improve the Council's performance as a partner with other bodies.
Officer Leadership Team
The Leadership Team comprises the Chief Executive and Departmental Directors and other Senior Officers and usually meets weekly. The Leadership Team is responsible for strategic planning and managing all Council services.
The work of the Council and, in particular, the Cabinet is subject to scrutiny by those Councillors not in the Cabinet. In Waltham Forest, this is carried out by a Scrutiny Management Committee and 6 Scrutiny Sub-Committees.
The Scrutiny Management Committee is responsible for looking at different aspects of the Council's services and is supported by 6 dedicated thematic sub-committees.
Scrutiny Committees may co-opt people with particular expertise or local knowledge as non-voting members or advisers.
In addition, the Management Committee may set up a number of time limited Scrutiny Panels.
Role of the Full Council
The Full Council (all 60 councillors meeting together) has the ultimate power to hold the Leader and Cabinet to account.
The Council's functions are to:
- Make decisions that have to be made by Full Council by statute.
- Consider, debate and approve budget, policy and major service proposals.
- Scrutinise the performance of the Leader and Cabinet with the assistance of Scrutiny Committees.
- Make appointments to Committees and outside bodies.
- Consider wider matters affecting the Authority.
- The Council also has the power to give direction to the Scrutiny Committees in a manner that is supportive of these Committees' independent role.