Our Constitution sets out how we operate, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.
The Constitution is divided into 16 articles which set out the basic rules governing the council's business. More detailed procedures and codes of practice are provided in separate rules and protocols set out in Section 5.
Decision making structure
We operate an ‘Executive Leader and Cabinet’ model of decision making. Under this model, the executive leader, Cllr Robin Howe, appoints his own deputy executive leader and cabinet, which comprises nine other councillors.
All cabinet members are members of the majority Conservative group. The executive leader chairs meetings of the cabinet which usually on the third Thursday of every month (except in August). They start at 7pm in the Civic Suite at Pathfinder House. These meetings are open to the public. The agenda, reports and minutes are also publicly available on ModernGov.
Each member of the cabinet has responsibility for a number of council services.
The cabinet takes most day-to-day decisions in line with the policy and strategic framework approved by the council. Part 3 of the Constitution describes which decisions can be taken by the cabinet and which can be delegated to council officers.
We publish a Notice of Key Executive Decisions each month. This contains a list of significant or key decisions expected to be taken by the cabinet in the future. These decisions often relate to matters which are likely to incur significant expenditure, result in significant savings or effect those living and working in two or more wards. It also details forthcoming decisions which are expected to be taken in private.
All councillors meet as ‘full council’ six times a year. These meetings are open to the public. The full council is responsible for the policy and strategic framework. It agrees the budget and Council Tax, elects the executive leader and appoints the executive deputy leader, managing director and chief officers and other members to the council's committees and other panels.
Overview and scrutiny
Overview and Scrutiny Panels aim to improve the council’s performance by monitoring, questioning and making recommendations on the way services are provided and decisions are taken.
There are three panels, each of which is made up of 12 council members.
The panels have a key role in the executive decision making by holding the cabinet to account. This involves ensuring that decisions taken by the cabinet are appropriate and within the council’s policy and financial framework.
If any three members of a relevant panel feel that a decision is inappropriate or contrary to policy or the budget, they can “call the decision in”. This must be done within five days of the decision being made to prevent it from being implemented. They will then discuss the matter formally with the relevant cabinet member and officer and, if necessary, make recommendations to the decision-maker to reconsider or amend their decision.
The panels also carry out detailed, evidence-based assessments of council services or wider issues which affect the lives of local people. At the end of each study, a panel will report with recommendations as to how things could be improved. Much of their work involves the detailed examination of key council plans and policies, both before and after they have been approved.
Other committees and panels
The council has a range of non-executive decisions that need to be taken, for example, determining planning and licensing applications. These decisions are delegated to the Development Management Committee and the Licensing Committee.
Members of the public are welcome to attend meetings of Huntingdonshire District Council which are held in the Civic Suite at Pathfinder House, unless indicated on the meeting agenda.
The public are able to put questions and comments to councillors about planning applications when they are being considered at the Development Management Panel.
We permit filming, recording and the taking of photographs in meetings that are open to the public. Arrangements for these activities should operate in accordance with the following guidelines: