Council, Committees and Forums
'The Council' can mean the organisation as a whole, but here we are referring to 'full council', which is a formal meeting of all the Hartlepool councillors.
The Council meets regularly and is a meeting that is open to the public to attend. There are three different types of Council Meeting - Ordinary, Extraordinary and Annual.
Ordinary Meetings of CouncilOrdinary meetings of the Council provide an opportunity for all Councillors from different political parties to meet together and debate issues of importance and local concern.
Ordinary meetings also give an opportunity to all members to discuss major issues of policy. It is the forum where members can ask questions of the Leader, Policy Committee and other Chairs and receive reports from policy committees.
Members of the public, as well as Councillors, can submit questions to be asked at Ordinary Council meetings.
Extraordinary Meetings of CouncilExtraordinary Council meetings are generally called when there is an issue of special importance that the Council wishes to discuss. Such meetings can only discuss the matters for which they are called, so the agendas for these meetings are very short. There tend to be very few Extraordinary meetings.
Annual Meeting of CouncilThe Annual Meeting of Council is held each year, usually in late May, dependent on the date of elections. At the Annual Meeting the Council: -
- Elects the Ceremonial Mayor of the Council and their deputy. The Ceremonial Mayor is the first citizen of the Borough and it is his/her role to chair full council meetings.
- Appoints Council Committees. Council decides the size and membership of the committees taking decisions on its behalf.
- The full Council also appoints Members to represent it on various outside bodies and organisations.
The Council has a a number of Policy Committees which will deal with the main day-to-day decision making of the authority and also formulate and review Council Policy within their remit.
The Policy Committees are -
Finance and Policy CommitteeThis Committee is chaired by the Leader of the Council and consists of 11 Members including the Chairs of the Policy Committees.
Adult Services Policy CommitteeThe Committee has 7 Members and the Chair will be the lead spokesperson on adult social care and related services.
Children's Services Policy CommitteeThe Committee has 7 Members and the Chair will be the lead spokesperson on children's services, including child protection to children and young people. The Committee will exercise the Council's functions as Local Education Authority and will provide oversight of the Children's Strategic Partnership Board for the purposes of the Children Act 2004. The Children's Services Committee also includes a number of young peoples representatives.
Neighbourhood Services Policy CommitteeThe Committee has 7 Members and is responsible for waste, coastal protection and flood defence, highways and traffic management (including integrated transport and partnership working) neighbourhood management and community safety.
Regeneration Services Policy CommitteeThe Committee has 7 Members and covers a wide range of functions from public protection, housing policy, economic development and regeneration, trading standards and cultural and leisure services.
The Council appoints a number of Regulatory and Other Committees that undertake certain regulatory functions that are the responsibility of the Council.
Audit and Governance Committee
This Committee has 7 Members who are not on Finance and Policy Committee and the Chair is a Member who is not in the majority group. The Committee will also include independent persons and parish council representatives when dealing with standards functions and also a coopted representative from a responsible local policing body during consideration of Crime and Disorder Committee matters.
The Committee has responsibility for financial governance and stewardship, risk management and audit, making appointments to the Independent Remuneration Panel, dealing with issues of conduct against Members , granting dispensations and promoting and maintaining high ethical standards. The discharge of all statutory scrutiny functions relating to Health and Wellbeing under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and Crime and Disorder for the purposes of the Police and Justice Act 2006. The Committee also has a Personnel Sub-Committee (quorum 3 Members ) which will deal with workforce appeals and related matters.
The Licensing Committee is responsible for the licensing functions of the Council, including taxis and private hire vehicles, alcohol licensing in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 and environmental health matters. Much of the work of the committee is undertaken by its sub committee which will deal with the majority of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing and Licensing Act matters.
The Planning Committee is the body that considers planning applications submitted to the council and manages the council's Planning Services. The committee deals with a wide range of matters including the preservation of trees and conservation issues. The Planning Portal contains a wide variety of advice as well as details of applications submitted to the planning authority.
When planning applications are considered at the committee, there is a facility for public involvement in the process. Applicants and objectors to applications have the facility to make their comments to the Planning Committee.
Neighbourhood Forums meetings are held each quarter for two areas; North and Coastal and South and Central and discuss local issues and concerns, and information on what's happening in the area. They ensure that residents of the town are better informed about the way their council services and other major service providers are run and allow them to get involved in the decision making process. Consultation with local people is a key element of the Forums.
All residents are welcome to attend their Neighbourhood Forum and although forums are popular attracting a large and diverse crowd, the Council wants to ensure that they are continuously improved and developed; to do this it's essential that residents continue to be involved and support these meetings in the future.
The Forums are responsible for improving your area in many ways and have been instrumental in carrying out the following improvements throughout the town:
- Street lighting improvements, which include painting street light columns and installing new street lights in dimly lit areas of the town.
- Improved Green areas and hanging baskets to improve the appearance of streets.
- Pedestrian tactile crossings to improve accessibility for all.
- Installation of alley gates to improve community security and tackle anti-social behaviour.
If you would like to raise an issue for improvement come along to the Forum in your area. The electoral wards covered by the two Forums are as follows: -
North and CoastalHart, De Bruce, Jesmond, Headland and Harbour and Seaton wards.
South and CentralVictoria, Burn Valley, Foggy Furze, Manor House, Fens and Rossmere and Rural West wards.