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Medway Council came into existence on 1 April 1998 and is one of
the largest unitary authorities in England, providing all local
government services. The council has a legal responsibility to make
decisions about such matters as collecting income from the
community (through council tax and charges) and from central
government and the type and range of services provided to the
The people who make decisions are councillors. Councillors are
elected by the people of Medway and usually represent political
groups. The council is made up of 55 councillors from 22 wards
The current composition of the council is:
Access to the decision-makers
Residents of Medway are represented at three levels, by:
- one or more local councillors,
- a member of parliament at Westminster,
- a member of the European Parliament.
There are also 11 parish councils
responsible for local facilities in some parts of Medway. The
following information explains how decisions are made by Medway
Council, who they are made by, how residents can influence this
process and the role of council officers.
Make your views known
There are several ways to make your views known so that
councillors can take them into account when making decisions. You
- write to, email or telephone either a
ward councillor or a councillor who sits on a committee
which is to consider the matter;
- ask a question at a
council meeting: time is set aside at council meetings for
local people to ask questions;
- organise a petition calling for
action on a specific issue and ask a councillor to present it at a
meeting of the council: it will then be referred to the appropriate
committee for discussion but will not be discussed at the council
meeting when it is presented.
Decisions are made at meetings of the
cabinet, council or at committee and sub-committee
Most decisions are taken by the 10-member cabinet. Some
decisions, such as changes to the constitution, electoral issues and approval of major policy
documents are taken by the full
council. Decisions on planning applications are taken by the
Committee. Decisions on applications for public entertainment,
premises, Hackney carriage and private hire licences are taken by
and Safety Committee and its Sub-Committees.
Some decisions are taken by officers under a scheme of
delegation from cabinet, council or committees.
The council also has four Overview and
Scrutiny Committees. These committees review services provided
by the council and other local partners (including the NHS) and
make recommendation for improvements to the cabinet or the
The council meets about seven times a year and has overall
responsibility for setting the council's budget and establishing
committees to make decisions and review services.
- The council receives reports from the Leader and from Overview
and Scrutiny committees.
- The council also considers recommendations from cabinet,
Overview and Scrutiny committees or officers.
- The Mayor presides over the meeting, ensuring that business is
- Councillors may submit topics for debate at the council
meeting, known as motions.
Committee and sub-committee meetings
The councillor who is the chair of the committee will guide the
meeting through the agenda. Reports referred to on the front sheet
can be found in the body of the agenda by looking for the item
number which is on the top right hand corner of each report. Each
page of the agenda is also numbered to make it easier to look
A vote may be taken on the recommendations, which are found at
the front of each report or which may be put forward by councillors
at the meeting.
Public access to council meetings
Everyone is welcome to come to Cabinet, council and committee
meetings to see how decisions are made. Seating has been arranged
so people can see and hear what is going on.
The times and places for most meetings are published in the
calendar of meetings. Meetings are scheduled around every six
weeks, although special meetings can be arranged if there is urgent
business. Meetings to discuss planning matters are held on a
three-weekly cycle, however.
All items that are discussed at the meeting are set out in a
document called the agenda. Copies of the agenda are available
in local libraries and at the reception
counters at the council's administrative buildings five days in advance of
the meeting. If you would like a personal copy sent to your home,
for which there may be a small charge, please use the contact
details at the foot of the page. Spare copies of the agenda will be
available on the night of the committee or sub-committee
Under the Local Government (Access to Information) Act
1985, the council may be required or may choose to discuss
certain items in private. These will be discussed at the end of the
meeting and the press and public will be asked to leave at this
point. Please use the contact details at the foot of the page to
find out more about such items. The council strives to ensure that
meetings are as open as possible and many committee meetings do not
have confidential items.
Meetings are publicised in the council's monthly newspaper,
Matters, in the council's offices and local libraries
All the council's decisions are recorded in the minutes. These
are available in local libraries and online.
The council employs officers to provide expert advice and
information to councillors, to help them make their decisions. All
committees are advised by council officers on the business to be
considered at the meeting: e.g. solicitors, accountants, housing
managers, educationalists or social services officers.
Council officers attend the meetings to present reports and
advise the committee but only councillors make decisions on these
Officers within the Council Office are responsible for making
the arrangements for the meeting, such as putting the agenda
together, advising on procedure at the meeting and recording the
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