Committees at East Hampshire District Council

Current committees

East Hampshire District Council has a number of decision making committees. This guide is to help you understand what happens at the committee meetings, how decisions are made and who the members of our committees are.

Who sits where

The chairman, vice-chairman and officers (staff) from the district council usually sit together at a table at the head of the meeting. The chairman leads the meeting and keeps it in order and councillors must ask all questions through them. Councillors sit at tables set out at either side of the main table.

Agenda

Agendas set out information on where the committee meeting is going to be held, the date and time of the meeting, which councillors sit on that particular committee and what items will be considered at the meeting.

Meetings generally follow the same pattern, which is set out on the agenda:

  1. Apologies from councillors unable to go to the meeting
  2. Confirming the minutes of the previous meeting are correct
  3. Chairman's announcements (details of matters of interest to the committee, including any 'housekeeping' issues)
  4. Councillors are asked to declare any interest they may have in any of the items of business on the agenda

Debates on the agenda items can then begin.

Reports setting out the issues for councillors to consider will also be attached to the agenda. Reports which require them make a decision will recommend a certain course of action.

Copies of the agenda are available five clear working days before the date of the meeting.

Minutes

Minutes are the official record of what happened at a meeting. They record which councillors were at the meeting and what decisions were made.

Whilst EHDC minutes try to give a clear indication of what happened, they are not verbatim minutes (ie they do not record everything word for word). They are a summary of what took place.

The minutes of meetings are produced by the Democratic Services Team around eight days after the meeting.

Large print copies of agendas and minutes are available on request, please allow two working days for dispatch.

Who can vote?

Only district councillors have the right to vote at meetings.

If councillors wish to vote on a matter, the vote will be taken on a show of hands. In addition to his or her ordinary vote, the chairman also has a casting vote. This can be used if voting is equal between those for and against a recommendation, so that a decision can be reached.

Confidential items

Very few matters are discussed in private, but sometimes it is necessary to exclude the public and press from a meeting. This is usually for legal, commercial or financial confidentiality reasons.

If there are items which need to be discussed in private session, the committee has the right to vote to exclude the public and members of the press from the meeting. For this reason, these items are usually placed at the end of the agenda.

The reasons for excluding the press and public are laid down by law and the public must be advised of the reasons for their exclusion. The council has a policy of encouraging openness and, even when items are discussed in private session, the committee may decide to make its decision public later.

In any event, the minutes of the meeting will contain a summary of the confidential item and record the decision taken.

What happens to the decisions

The majority of decisions taken at a meeting mean that, once that decision has been made, officers are authorised to act on that decision. However, sometimes decisions taken need to be referred to other committees to be ratified. This mostly happens when sub-committees make recommendations to their 'parent' committee.

A record of the decisions made at cabinet and community forum meetings are sent to all district councillors within two working days of the meeting. If they wish, councillors can call-in a decision under certain conditions (see the council's Constitution).

Appeals Committee

As well as the committees listed below, an Appeals Committee is convened on an ad hoc basis to deal with the regulation or dismissal of a member of staff under the disciplinary

Calendar of Meetings
Dates of all upcoming council and outside body meetings.

Forward Plans
Details of the forward plans published by the council, which list the key-decisions that are planned to be made over the next three months.

Decisions by Cabinet, committees, etc or Officer Decisions
Search for past decisions taken either by the council’s decision making bodies (such as Cabinet) or by council officers.

Search Documents
Use keywords to search for documents relating to any particular issue you may be interested in.

Committees
Use the below links to access agendas and minutes of previous meetings for particular committe