The Council is the ultimate decision-making body. It sets the policy and financial frameworks within which the Executive (Cabinet) must work, it agrees the Council's annual budget and sets the Council Tax, it must formally agree a variety of policies and plans, it agrees the Constitution and any amendments to it, and considers a range of reports from the Cabinet and Committees. It confers the honours of Freedom of the Borough and the office of Alderman upon eligible people. Finally, Members are able to debate motions of importance to the Borough.
The Council elects the Mayor every year and appoints the Leader for a term of up to four years following the municipal elections every fourth year (from 2010 onwards). It also elects annually the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of Committees.
All Councillors are Members of the Council.
The Agenda for Council meetings is published several weeks in advance.
Three weeks before the meeting, an initial Agenda outlining the likely business is published.
Two weeks before the meeting a revised Agenda (superseding the initial agenda) is published.
The week before the meeting a final Agenda (which is definitive) is published, setting out the business that will be considered at the meeting.
It is occasionally necessary to publish one of more supplementary Agendas.
Havering has a “strong” Leader to whom all responsibility for day to day executive matters has been delegated. The Leader has in turn delegated specific areas of responsibility (“Portfolios”) to the Cabinet, with power to make decisions on matters within these portfolios.
In addition to the Leader, Havering has eight cabinet members, each with responsibility for key service areas such as education, the environment or housing and the multi-million pound budgets that go with them.
Havering's overall objectives reflect the goal shared by all the
Cabinet, to make the people of the borough their highest
Cabinet meetings are generally open to the public but, occasionally, part of a meeting may need to be held in private.
Havering’s Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) is an executive committee that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of local people by bringing together a range of public sector organisations to work collaboratively towards shared goals.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees consist of Councillors (and in the case of the Children's Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee when education issues are being looked at, co-opted Members) who are not Members of Cabinet. Their role is to scrutinise Council decisions and policies and to recommend to Cabinet what changes, if any, ought to be made.
These committees deal with those matters that are not executive decisions dealt with by the Cabinet and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees. They are either matters related to the internal running of the Council or dealing with regulatory functions that affect the residents of the Borough.
In addition to formal Council, Cabinet and committee meetings, other meetings take place to which the public have access. These meetings are required by law to cover specific areas of activity.