The Local Government Act 2000 (Section 37) requires local authorities to prepare, keep up-to-date and publicise a document known as the Council’s constitution. The constitution is at the heart of the Council’s business. It allocates power and responsibility within the local authority, and between it and others.

West Somerset Council’s Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Some of these processes are required by Law, while others are a matter for the Council to choose.

The constitution is split between articles and rules of procedure and associated material. Articles are in the first part of the constitution and are intended to set the overall framework and in general will not be subject to frequent change. Articles are about what is to be done and by whom. Procedure rules, codes of conduct and other material are after the articles and are broadly about how the articles will be put into effect, these will be subject to much more frequent change than the articles. The constitution can be found under Related Documents.

PART 1 contains:

  • General Information
  • Summary and Explanation

PART 2 - Articles contains:

  • Article 1     The Constitution
  • Article 2     Members of the Council
  • Article 3     Citizens and the Council
  • Article 4     The Full Council
  • Article 5     Chairing the Council
  • Article 6     Scrutiny Committee
  • Article 7     The Cabinet
  • Article 8     Regulatory and Other Committees
  • Article 9     The Standards Advisory Committee
  • Article 10   Area Panels
  • Article 11   Joint Arrangements
  • Article 12   Officers
  • Article 13   Decision Making
  • Article 14   Finance, Contracts and Legal Matters
  • Article 15   Review and Revision of the Constitution
  • Article 16   Suspension, Interpretation and Publication of the Constitution
  • Schedule 1 Description of Executive Arrangements

PART 3 - Responsibility for Functions contains:

  • Terms of Reference for Committees
  • Scheme of Delegations

PART 4 - Rules of Procedure contains:

  • Council Procedure Rules
  • Access to Information Procedure Rules
  • Budget and Policy Framework Procedure Rules
  • Cabinet Procedure Rules
  • Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules
  • Financial Regulations
  • Standing Orders relating to Contracts
  • Procurement Strategy
  • Officer Employment Procedure Rules
  • Public Participation Scheme
  • Advice Regarding Protest Action Affecting West Somerset Council Premises
  • Complaints/Comments/Compliments Procedure

PART 5 - Codes and Protocols contains:

  • Members Code of Conduct
  • Role and Operational Protocol for the Independent Member
  • Officer's Code of Conduct
  • Protocol for Member and Officer Relations
  • Protocol for the Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer
  • Members' Media Relations Protocol
  • Social Media Policy and Guidelines
  • Recording of Meetings Protocol
  • Protocol for Disclosure of Confidential Information
  • Guidance for Members on Gifts and Hospitality
  • Site Visits

PART 6 and 7 contains:

  • Members' Allowance
  • Management Structure