Gateshead Council decided to implement a new constitution, in May 2002, based on a Leader and Cabinet form of executive.
Under the system, a Leader was chosen by the whole council, comprising Gateshead's 66 local ward councillors. The Leader then selects their Cabinet.
The full council:
- Makes all policy decisions and sets the council's budget for the year;
- The Leader and Cabinet meet in public, in order to make a range of day-to-day decisions on council services within those polices;
- They publish a forward plan, which lists the key decisions to be made in the next four months, and explains how people can submit their views before decisions are made.
These decisions are closely monitored by Overview and Scrutiny Committees which ware made up of other local councillors who are not on the Cabinet.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees have full legal powers to look into any matter being discussed by the Cabinet, whether or not a decision has already been taken.
They can require Cabinet Members and council officers to attend. Local people will have even more of a say at these meetings by asking questions or delivering petitions.
Some things of course stayed the same:
- There will still be 66 local councillors, who will be elected in the same way as before;
- Your local ward councillor will continue to represent you in the same way;
- And there will still be a role for a Mayor in Gateshead - who will continue to perform his or her civic and ceremonial role in the same way as countless others have done for over 150 years.
View or download the full Constitution document (1.19Mb)