Guildford Borough Council: Have Your Say on its Governance Model


Press Release from Guildford Borough Council (09 February 2015)

Give us your views on how the Council makes decisions


A cross-party group of councillors is taking a thorough look at how the Council operates and makes decisions.

Before evaluating the various governance models and structures available, the group wants to work with our residents, community groups, councillors, staff and partners to help identify the key attributes of effective local decision-making.

Please let us know what you think by completing our anonymous survey at before midnight on Sunday 1 March.

Chairman of the Task and Finish Group, Cllr Tony Rooth, says: “We are starting with a blank canvas to take a fresh and open look at the way the Council operates and makes decisions. This is a very important part of the Council’s responsibility and we want to listen to as many views as possible before we look at all the potential options and recommend any changes.

“The group leading the Council’s review is cross-party and made up of seven councillors and an independent member. Our review is non-political and focuses on governance principles, practice and procedures not politics or personalities. We have already held engagement events to hear from councillors, staff, stakeholders, partners and other councils and received external expert advice. We now want to hear from the public and I encourage you to complete our survey to tell us what you think.”

After gathering data and feedback to identify the essential attributes that best meet the Council’s needs, the group will then evaluate the different models and make a recommendation to the Joint Scrutiny Committee, Executive and Council.

Governance models

The aim of any governance model is to make sure that decision-making is transparent, efficient and accountable and each model has its own merits. Good governance is also about participation, attitudes and behaviour, as well as how the Council is organised.

Since the Localism Act 2011, there are three main governance models to choose. Some councils choose to implement a hybrid or customised version of these.

Read more about our Council and its committees.

Leader and Cabinet (or Executive) – this is the governance system that most councils, including Guildford Borough Council, operate. A leader, who is usually the leader of the largest party, leads cabinet. Full Council elects them for a term determined by the Council itself or on a four yearly basis. These councils must also have one or more overview and scrutiny committees, which are a mix of councillors from all political parties.

Mayoral system – these councils have a directly elected executive mayor with wide decision-making powers. The mayor appoints a cabinet made up of other councillors, who may also have decision-making powers. These councils must also have one or more overview and scrutiny committees, which are a mix of councillors from all political parties.

Committee system – these councils make most decisions in committees, which are a mix of councillors from all political parties. They have a number of service committees, which will often align with council departments. Normally this model has a Policy and Resources committee that makes the key policy decisions. The leader of the largest party usually chairs this. They may have one or more overview and scrutiny committees to coordinate and scrutinise work programmes, but are not required to.