Our council has a leader and cabinet responsible for making decisions.

Budget decisions and policies are determined by the full council (all 60 councillors). The leader and cabinet are responsible for most day-to-day decisions.

Find major decisions for the coming months in the forward plan.

How the cabinet works

The leader and a cabinet includes up to nine other councillors, and is appointed annually by the council leader.

Each cabinet member has particular responsibilities..

The whole cabinet usually makes key decisions. Sometimes, a cabinet member can make a decision on his own if it doesn’t cause a problem for other services.

There are up to ten cabinet members with portfolios set by the leader and reported to council each year.

The cabinet decisions are made collectively, or through individual members.

Terms of reference

The cabinet functions are set out in its terms of reference in Part 7 of the constitution and are to:

  • Carry out all the functions of the council which aren’t reserved in legislation for the full council to carry out
  • Implement the council's policies in line with the policy framework and budget agreed by full council, and the council's financial rules and regulations
  • Make recommendations on major policy and resources matters where the ultimate decision is made by the full council (within the current legal framework)
  • Make policy and set strategic direction for matters which are not reserved for the full council
  • 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.

Role of the full council

The full council functions (all 60 councillors meeting together) are to:

  • Make decisions that have to be made by full council by statute
  • Consider, debate and approve budget and policy framework proposals
  • Scrutinise and hold cabinet accountable with the assistance of scrutiny committees, members speeches and through members question time
  • Make appointments to committees and outside bodies
  • Consider wider matters affecting the authority through public speeches, motions and question time

The management board

The management board is responsible for strategic planning and managing all council services.

The management board usually meets weekly and is made up of:

  • the chief executive
  • departmental directors
  • other senior officers


The work of the council and, in particular, the cabinet is subject to the scrutiny of councillors who aren’t in the cabinet.

How scrutiny panels and committees work and how to get involved.

Contact Democratic Services


Waltham Forest Town Hall

Forest Road
E17 4JF