When decisions have to be made by the Town Council any of
the available options could, in theory, be chosen. In practice, however, things
are seldom quite that simple. Like any public authority, the Town Council has a
legal duty to be reasonable when making decisions. This means that it must be fair,
consistent and rational both in the procedure which it follows and in
the decision which it makes. There will also be a political obligation
on councillors who have been elected to act in accordance with any promises
they made. For these reasons the Town Council has adopted a number of documents
which assist it with decision-making in specific cases.
First, the Council has a Business Plan. This sets out the
Council’s strategic vision and priorities. The current Business Plan and any
previous versions can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on the “Business
Plan” option to the left.
Secondly, the Town Council has a number of “protocols”.
These are sets of rules or procedures which must be obeyed or followed by
councillors and council staff when the relevant circumstances arise; for
example, when a staff vacancy arises and the questions of whether and how to
fill it need to be considered. Protocols are designed to serve two main
To make clear how councillors and council staff
are expected to behave in certain respects so that misunderstandings and
misconduct are avoided wherever possible; and
- To ensure that the Town Council always follows a
fair and consistent procedure when making certain important decisions and so avoids
either favouritism or improper discrimination.
Either of these things can have serious consequences,
including costs having to be met from public funds. The current protocols are
available in the section marked “Protocols”.
Thirdly, the Town Council has adopted a number of “policies”.
These are, in effect, advance indications of what the Town Council is likely to
decide about certain matters. Again, the aim is fairness and consistency and these
are intended to help everybody to know what to expect (for example, whether a
banner advertising an event will be allowed in a particular place or whether a
grant application is likely to be successful). Truly exceptional circumstances may
justify the Town Council in departing from the policy in particular cases but
this will be unusual; most of the time the policy will be followed as
indicated. Please click on the “Policies” section to the left for full details
All of these documents are regularly reviewed to
ensure they remain reasonable and relevant at all times.