The Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 requires Guildford Borough Council to make changes to its current executive arrangements. The new arrangements described below were approved by the Council at a special meeting held on 8 April 2010.
With effect from the third day after the local government elections in May 2011, Guildford Borough Council will adopt the leader and cabinet executive (England) model, as specified in Section 11 (2A) of the Local Government Act 2000 (as amended). The key elements of the new arrangements are as follows:
1. Election of the Leader
The Leader shall be elected by full Council at its first meeting following the post-election annual meeting. The term of office of the Leader starts on the day of their election as Leader and ends on the day of the next post-election annual meeting unless they:
are removed from office by resolution of the Council (see paragraph 5 below);
cease to be a councillor;
before that day.
During their term of office as Leader, the Leader shall continue to hold office as a councillor and accordingly any enactment which provides for earlier retirement as a councillor does not apply.
["post-election annual meeting" means the first annual meeting of the Council to be held after ordinary elections take place]
2. Scheme of Delegation /Appointment of the Executive
The Leader shall determine:
the scheme of delegation for the discharge of the executive functions of the Council
the size of the Executive and shall appoint between 2 and 9 other councillors to the Executive - those councillors shall be referred to as lead councillors, and
areas of responsibility (portfolios) to be allocated to lead councillors
The Leader may at any time:
remove lead councillors from the Executive, and
change lead councillors' areas of responsibility
The Leader shall report to the Council on all appointments to and changes to the Executive.
3. Appointment of Deputy Leader
The Leader shall appoint one of the lead councillors to be the Deputy Leader. The Deputy Leader shall hold office until the end of the Leader's term of office unless that person:
resigns as Deputy Leader;
is removed from office by the Leader; or
ceases to be a councillor.
In the event of any of the above occurring, the Leader shall appoint another lead councillor as Deputy Leader at the earliest opportunity.
4. Absent Leader
If, for any reason, the Leader is unable to act or the office of Leader is vacant, the Deputy Leader must act in their place.
If, for any reason, the Leader is unable to act or the office of Leader is vacant and the Deputy Leader is unable to act or the office of Deputy Leader is vacant, the Executive must act in the Leader's place or arrange for a member of the Executive to do so.
5. Removal of Leader from office
At any meeting of the full Council, a councillor may propose that "the Council has no confidence in the Leader". The question shall after debate be put and, if carried by a simple majority of those councillors present the Leader shall be removed from office.
If the Council passes a resolution to remove the Leader from office, a new Leader shall be elected -
(a) at the meeting at which the Leader is removed from office, or
(b) at a subsequent meeting.
Under the 2007 Act, the Council has the option whether or not to make its proposals subject to a referendum. A referendum would require registered local government electors to endorse the Council's proposals. The cost of a referendum would be significant and given the low level of interest shown by the public during the consultation on the proposals, it is felt that there is insufficient justification to undertake a referendum in addition to the consultation exercise. Accordingly, no referendum shall be held as to the form of the Council's executive arrangements.
7. Timetable for Implementation
8 April - Special Council meeting to adopt resolution on new executive arrangements.
May/June - Publicity to be given to the resolution to change executive arrangements.
31 December - Statutory deadline by which resolution to adopt new executive arrangements must be made.
24 March - Report to Executive on amendments to Constitution.
7 April - Council to approve amendments to Constitution.
5 May - Borough Elections.
9 May - New executive arrangements come into effect.
17 May - Selection Council meeting (elect new executive leader at this meeting).
18 May - Executive leader to appoint Deputy Leader and other lead councillors to the Executive and allocate individual portfolios.
May/June - Further amendments to the Constitution to take into account the executive leader's Scheme of Delegation.
8. Transitional Arrangements
Under the 2007 Act, the Council must agree transitional arrangements for the period leading up to implementation of the new governance arrangements 3 days after the local elections in May 2011.
In accordance with Paragraph 2 (1) of Part 1 of Schedule 4 to the 2007 Act, the Council will continue to operate the old-style leader and cabinet executive until the end of the transitional period. From the 3rd day after the local elections to the date on which the new executive leader is elected any matter of urgency arising will be dealt with by the Chief Executive under his existing delegated power to act in relation to such matters, which may relate to any functions of the Council, subject to the use of this power being reported to councillors. This delegated power will also be used in subsequent years to cover the period from the post-election annual meeting to the first Council meeting immediately thereafter.
9. Continuous Improvement
In drawing up the proposals, the council must consider the extent to which the proposals, if implemented, would be likely to assist in securing continuous improvement in the way in which the local authority's functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
The new leader and cabinet executive (England) model is the one which most closely reflects the Council's current executive arrangements, which have worked well in Guildford over the past decade, during which the Council has been assessed as an excellent and improving council.
10. Local Choice Functions
The 2007 Act requires the Council to state the extent to which the local choice functions specified in regulations under Section 13(3)(b) of the Local Government Act 2000 are to be the responsibility of the form of executive which will be operated if the proposals are implemented. The Council proposes that these functions shall be discharged as currently set out in Appendix I of Part 3 of the Council's Constitution or until revised by the executive leader or Council under the new governance arrangements.