Newham

Decision making

As a council with a directly elected Mayor, our decision making process differs from that of most councils.
 

Decisions are made either by:

  • a meeting of the full council or one of its committees; or
  • by the Mayor with or without his cabinet; or
  • by council officers.
Newham Town Hall at night

​Full council decisions

The full council is a formal meeting of all 60 elected councillors and the elected Mayor.
 
Certain decisions must, by law, be made at a meeting of the full council. These include:
  • adoption of the Constitution and amendments to it
  • setting the Council Tax rate
  • approving the council budget proposed by the Mayor
  • approving or adopting any documents which form part of the policy framework
  • awarding the freedom of the borough and creating honorary aldermen and alderwomen
  • deciding the size and membership of council committees
  • confirming the appointment of the Head of the Paid Service (the Chief Executive, who is the most senior member of staff).
The full council usually meets at least five times a year (including the annual meeting in May). These meetings are open to the public.  
Find out when the next meeting is on our calendar of meetings.
The full council is the opportunity for councillors to question the Mayor and cabinet, chairs of council committees and to put motions on the agenda.
 
You can find out more information about the full council in Part 4.1 of our Constitution. It sets how meetings should be conducted and how particular types of business such as members’ questions and submissions of motions and amendments should be carried out.
 

Annual Meeting

The full council has a special meeting in May known as the Annual Meeting.
 
At this meeting the council: 
  • elects the chair and deputy chair of the council
  • decides the size and membership of council committees which will make decisions on its behalf.
Also at this meeting, the Mayor announces:
  • the membership of his cabinet, including his deputy (chosen from among the 60 councillors)
  • appointments of advisers
  • portfolios allocated to those councillors
  • how the Mayor and cabinet will make decisions
  • how decisions will be delegated.
 
 

Cabinet decisions

The Mayor appoints elected councillors to the cabinet (he can appoint between two and nine). He also appoints Mayoral advisers.  

Decisions the cabinet makes

The Mayor is ultimately responsible for all executive decisions. Executive decisions can be made by: 
  • the Mayor
  • the Mayor in consultation with the cabinet
  • the Mayor in consultation with a cabinet member.
Each member of the cabinet is in charge of a portfolio, such as regeneration and strategic planning, equalities, housing and customer service. But these are advisory roles: cabinet members have no individual decision-making power, although the Mayor may delegate power to them either permanently or temporarily if he wishes.

Some executive decisions are known as key decisions, which can:
  • result in spending or saving in excess of £500,000 and, or
  • have a significant effect on two or more wards in the borough.

Each key decision needs to be published 28 days before the decision is made. If it is not possible to give 28 days, our Constitution sets out the procedure to be used to allow such decisions to be made.

How the decisions are made

Cabinet meetings

When the Mayor makes a decision with multiple cabinet members, he does so at monthly cabinet meetings.
 
These are held every month, except in August, at the Town Hall, East Ham, usually on Thursday evenings. They are open to the public.

Mayoral Proceedings

When the Mayor makes a decision alone or in consultation with a member of the executive, he does so at meetings called Mayoral Proceedings.

These are held fortnightly at the Town Hall, East Ham, usually on Thursday morning, or in the evening following a cabinet meeting if that falls on the same day. The Mayor has decided that the public are welcome to attend these meetings.
 

Committee decisions

Part 3 and Articles 8 and 9 of the council's Constitution sets out the decisions made by the council's committees. These include planning, licensing and council govenance decisions.
 
 

Scrutinising decisions made by the executive

If a non-executive councillor believes a decision made by the executive or a key decision made by an officer is contrary to our policies he or she can challenge that decision. This is known as a ‘call in’.

The ‘call in’ procedures are set out in the Overview and Scrutiny procedure rules (part 4.5) of our Constitution.
 
This call-in procedure does not apply to:
  • urgent decisions where the call-in rights have been waived
  • planning decisions
  • licensing decisions
  • council employee or staffing matters
  • issues that could be dealt with under the complaints procedure.
Find out more about scrutiny.
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