Let’s be honest. The word ‘committees’ doesn’t tend to get people excited.
And the fact you clicked on this headline is a bit of a surprise. But we’re glad you did 🙂
Because committees are like the cogs and gears that make local government work – turning out decisions that affect services and customers like you.
It probably doesn’t keep you awake at night, but you might sometimes wonder “what do all these committees do?”
Fair question. Here’s a quick run-down.
Every committee is important, but ‘Council’ – sometimes called ‘Full Council’ – is the daddy of them all.
It meets several times a year, includes all 52 councillors, and makes decisions on some of the really big stuff.
For example, it has the final say on the budget. And on council tax rates.
When it comes to decisions like this, other committees can make recommendations – but it’s Full Council that has the final word.
You could argue that ‘Exec Board’ has the biggest impact on what the council does month-to-month.
It’s made up of 10 councillors from the political group – or coalition – with the highest number of seats, and includes the leader and deputy leader.
It meets every few weeks, and makes most of the key decisions about council services and priorities.
You can see what’s coming up for debate on our website.
And you can watch the meetings live (or tune in later).
A Scrutiny Committee does what it says on the tin. It scrutinises stuff – including decisions made by Exec Board, projects, services and key issues.
It usually includes councillors from all political groups, and acts as a counterweight to Exec Board.
We’ve got five Scrutiny Committees. Some of the names are a bit long (well…this is local government), but here’s the gist of what they do:
- Customer, Performance, Resources and Governance – makes sure we focus on our customers and use our resources wisely.
- Employment, Business and Investment – looks at how we make Wrexham a place where businesses can thrive, and people want to live, work and visit.
- Housing and Environment – ensures we do our bit to provide enough housing and homes in Wrexham, and look after the environment.
- Lifelong Learning – makes sure we’re doing what we can to help people have positive aspirations, get a good education and achieve their potential.
- Safeguarding, Communities and Wellbeing – looks at how we ensure people feel safe in Wrexham, and how vulnerable children and adults are kept safe.
You can see what’s coming up for debate on the council website.
And you’ll soon be able to watch Scrutiny meetings online (just like Exec Board).
Still with us? Good on you.
Now you probably know what the Planning Committee does? That’s right…it makes decisions about planning applications and other planning issues.
So when a developer wants to build new housing for example, it’s the Planning Committee that gets involved.
It includes 20 councillors from across the political groups, and meets every couple of weeks or so.
You can watch the meetings online.
Basically, the Audit Committee checks if we’re doing what we should be doing.
It looks at whether we’re managing our money and finances properly. It checks we’re doing what we can to guard against threats like fraud, cyber attack, health and safety, and extreme weather disruption.
In a nutshell, it makes sure we do what we need to do, to keep public money and resources safe.
The interesting thing about the Audit Committee is that it isn’t chaired by a councillor. It’s chaired by a member of the public.
Again, you can see what’s coming up for debate on our website.
So there you go!
If you’re interested in the mechanics of local government – and want to know how decisions actually get made – well this is how it happens.
So to sum up…
- Full Council makes decisions on the really big stuff.
- Exec Board makes key decisions…
- …and the Scrutiny Committees scrutinise those decisions.
- The Planning Committee deals with planning applications.
- And the Audit Committee makes sure we’re doing everything properly.
Come to think of it, we should’ve just said that in the first place 😉