The Forward Plan is a document which lists the decisions that Cabinet, individual Cabinet members and officers intend to make on behalf of the council over the next four months. The Forward Plan is updated monthly and incorporates the legal requirements of giving at least 28 days' notice of key and private decisions to be taken by during the next few months:
Five days before a Cabinet meeting a notice will be published confirming the intention to go ahead with a private meeting of Cabinet. It will outline the matters to be discussed, any representations received and the council's response to them:
Additional notices get published from time to time showing changes to proposed meetings of Cabinet or notice of urgent decisions to be made:
A key decision is any decision that will involve the council incurring revenue expenditure or saving of £250,000 or more and capital expenditure of £1,000,000 or more or which will have a significant impact on the community, i.e. will materially affect one or more wards. Any items listed on the Forward Plan that do not fall within one of these categories are classed as non-key decisions.
The Local Government Act 2000 provides for individual Cabinet members and officers to make decisions on behalf of the council. A scheme of delegation has been introduced to make the decision-making process more efficient. The same principles of openness and transparency that apply to Cabinet also apply to delegated decisions. The council employs officers to give advice, implement decisions and manage the day to day delivery of its services. Certain officers have the power to make decisions on behalf of the council and some have a specific duty to ensure that the council acts within the law and uses its resources wisely. Individual Cabinet members can make strategic decisions. All decisions are published to the council website where you can search by date or subject heading.
Members of the public have the right to attend and observe City Council and committee meetings to hear decisions being made but will need to leave if confidential business is being discussed. Members of the public do not have a right to speak at City Council but in the case of committee meetings, may do so at the discretion of the Chair. Anyone wishing to speak at a committee meeting should notify the contact officer indicated on the agenda, in advance of the meeting.
Most meetings are held in the civic centre. When a meeting is held at another venue this will be indicated on the calendar and shown on the front page of the agenda. The public may record or film meetings that are open to the public but will be asked to do in such a way that is not disruptive or distracting for those taking part in or observing the meeting. As a courtesy anyone wishing to film any part of a meeting should notify council staff before the start of the meeting so that other attendees can be informed.
All civic centre committee rooms are accessible to wheelchair users.
The public may address City Council or ask questions. There is a set procedure to be followed. The Service Manager, Democratic Services must be notified in writing of any intention to speak at City Council by noon on the Monday before the meeting.