Policies

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 purposes:

  • 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 of these.

All of these documents are regularly reviewed to ensure they remain reasonable and relevant at all times.