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Governance Review 2012

The Localism Act 2011 allows councils to change their governance arrangements. In 2012 we used this change in law as an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of our arrangements and to explore how we were making decisions - ensuring they were informed by public opinion, reflecting and responding to the needs of local people and were transparent and accountable.

How we conducted the review

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A panel of elected Members led the review of Cornwall Council’s governance arrangements. The Governance Review Member Panel considered a number of options, including a strategic committee system, the existing Cabinet system and a modified cabinet system.

The panel completed a detailed analysis of the available options for the Council’s future decision making structures and reported its findings and made recommendations for the future to the Council in October 2012.

A list of panel members and details of meetings can be found via the Governance Review Panel pages on the Council’s website.

We formed a panel consisting of partners from outside of the Council and asked them to assist the Governance Review Member Panel in conducting the review.

This external panel considered verbal and written evidence gathered as part of the review and was comprised of three independent volunteers:

  • The Rt Reverend Tim Thornton - Bishop of Truro
  • Debbie Wilshire - Deputy Chief Executive of Cornwall College
  • Martin Parker - Co-opted Member of Cornwall Council's Standards Committee and Former District Auditor

Input and opinion was sought from partners, councillors, officers, academics, local town and parish councils, the public and other interested parties.

Three inquiry days were hosted by the external group and representatives from partnership organisations such as Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, the Combined University of Cornwall and the voluntary and community sector were invited to input views. With over 80 written responses and 87 witness contributions, the findings represent a credible snapshot of people’s experiences.

View the full report which holds the findings and recommendations of the external group. 

The review looked at how the Council operates and the procedures that are followed to ensure that the decisions it makes are efficient, open and transparent and informed by robust evidence. The review also considered how the Council works with its partners, stakeholders and local organisations to maximise available resources, reduce duplication and, ultimately, deliver better services for local people.

A key part of the review was to ensure that local residents, stakeholders and interested parties were given the opportunity to put forward their views. Comments received during our consultation were considered by the Governance Review Panel and helped to inform its recommendations to the Council decision.

The outcome of the review means Cornwall Council now has a modified cabinet system.

The Governance Review is part of the changes coming into effect through the Localism Act. You can read about this and other aspects of the Act on our Localism in Action pages.

An overview of the different governance models available to local authorities along with a number of the common perceived advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Read our news release Cornwall Council approves new modified Cabinet system