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Political Structure - Our Constitution and the way we work.

The Constitution allocates power and responsibility and regulates the behaviour of individuals and groups through codes of conduct, protocols and Procedure Rules.

A Summary of the Council's Constitution

The Council's Constitution

Basildon Borough Council's Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Some of these processes are required by the law, while others are a matter for the Council to choose.

Part 1 of the Constitution is divided into 14 articles, which set out the basic rules governing the Council's business. More detailed procedures and codes of practice are provided in separate rules and protocols at the end of the document and the Constitution also provides information regarding who Members of the Council are, what committees they serve on and the Scheme of Members' Allowances.

At an extraordinary meeting on 25 May 2017, Basildon Borough Council resolved to cease operating a Leader and Cabinet form of governance and to operate a Committee System form of governance with effect from its Annual Meeting, also on 26 May. The Constitution is currently being updated accordingly and a copy of the document being submitted to Council on 13 July 2017 for approval at the meeting is available here:

How the Council operates

The Council is composed of 42 Members, also referred to as Councillors, who serve a four-year term of office. The regular election of Borough Councillors is held in three out of four years, with a third of the Councillors elected in each of these years. County Council elections are held in the fourth year.

Councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their ward. The overriding duty of Councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.

Councillors have to agree to follow the Members' Code of Conduct for Basildon to ensure high ethical standards in the way they undertake their duties. The Standards Committee trains and advises them on the code of conduct and deals with any formal complaints regarding Members' conduct.

All Councillors meet together as the Council. Meetings of the Council are normally open to the public. Here Councillors decide the Council's overall policies and set the budget each year.

The Council's Staff

The Council has people working for it (called 'officers') to give advice, implement decisions and manage the day-to-day delivery of its services. Some officers have a specific duty to ensure that the Council acts within the law and uses its resources wisely. A code of practice that governs the relationships between officers and Members of the Council is included in the Constitution.

Citizens' Rights

Citizens have a number of rights in their dealings with the Council. These are set out in more detail in Article 3. Some of these are legal rights, whilst others depend on the Council's own processes. There are various local advice agencies and local legal practices who can advise on individuals' legal rights.

Where members of the public use specific Council services, for example as a Council tenant, they have additional rights. These are not covered in this Constitution.

Citizens have the right to:

  • vote at local elections if they are registered;
  • contact their local Councillor about any matters of concern to them;
  • obtain a copy of the Constitution;
  • attend meetings of the Council and its Committees except where personal, confidential or exempt matters are being discussed;
  • petition to request a referendum on a mayoral form of Executive;
  • see reports and background papers considered by the Council and any of its Committees and the record of any decisions made by the Council and its Committees, except where they contain personal or confidential information;
  • complain to the Council about the Council's handling of any matter through the complaints procedure which is available at all Council offices and on request;
  • complain to the Ombudsman if they think they have suffered injustice because the Council has not followed its procedures properly. However, they are encouraged only to do this after using the Council's own complaints process;
  • complain to the Joint Standards Committee if they have evidence which they think shows that a Councillor or a member of any town, village or parish council in the Borough has not followed the Members' Code of Conduct; and
  • inspect the Council's accounts and make their views known to the external auditor.

The Council welcomes participation by its citizens in its work. For further information on your rights as a citizen, please contact Committee and Member Services :

Committee and Member Services
Basildon Borough Council
St. Martin's Square
Basildon
Essex
SS14 1DL.

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