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Decision making and scrutiny


Councils have different ways of making decisions. Since 2000 most councils in England have had a small executive group that is responsible for the overall business of the council. Its decisions are subject to scrutiny by a different group of councillors who meet in overview and scrutiny panels, to check and monitor what the council does.

Smaller councils often have a committee structure dealing with separate aspects of the council's business, rather than having executive and scrutiny panels.

While the full council (a meeting of all members of the council) is theoretically responsible for all the decisions made, in practice most of the work is delegated to smaller groups of councillors or council officers (employees).

The arrangements are designed to ensure that people know who in the council is responsible for taking decisions, how they can have an input into decision making, and how they can hold decision makers to account.


Council meetings


You can attend most meetings of the council, although usually you will not be able to speak at them. Every council must publish a 'forward work plan' listing the decisions that will be taken over the coming months. They also publish meeting papers at least five working days in advance, and afterwards they publish the minutes of the meeting, summarising the decisions made.

Local authorities may exclude the public from meetings and withhold papers only in limited circumstances.


Declaration of interest


All local councillors abide by a code of conduct, part of which requires them to declare any financial interests, gifts or hospitality that could influence any decisions they make.

All local authorities must publish these declarations, and you can usually access this information via the authority's website or at the town hall.



Task 1. Translate the words and their derivatives.

To elect – electable – election – elective – electoral

To support – support – supporter – supporting

To develop – developed – developer – developing – development – developmental

To cover – covered – covering – coverage

To provide – provided – provider – providing – provision

To discuss – discussion – discussed – discussing

To complain – complaint – complaining – complained

Task 2.Find the synonyms to the words from list A in the list B.

A:to be run, for example, salary, to be entitled, to contact, via, in practice, to attend, although, coming, afterwards, to summarise.

B:to deal, to be governed, to sum up, in fact, to visit, wages, for instance, future, after, though, to have a right to, through.

Task 3. Give the Russian equivalents to the following English words and word-combinations from the text.

Are run by the elected councilors; to represent views; to help local people; to campaign on local issues; provide the policies, to contact via local authority, councillor’s advice surgery; to scrutiny; scrutiny panels; although usually you will not be able to speak at them; at least; to exclude public from meetings.

Task 4. Find in the text the English equivalents for the following Russian words and word-combinations.

За которых голосуют местные люди; от лица сообщества; например уборка мусора и возможности проведения досуга; развивая связи со всеми частями сообщества; пожаловаться; принимать решение; в действительности большая часть работы передается меньшим группам советников или служащим совета; перечисляя решения, которые будут принять в ближайшие месяцы.

Task 5. Define if the following sentences are true or false.

1) Councillors are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the community about local services.

2) Each councillor represents an area called a ward serving for 5 years.

3) Councillors are paid a salary or wages.

4) You can attend most meetings of the council.

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