How the council makes decisions
Decisions of the London Borough of Lambeth are made by local councillors, or officers under their guidance. Councillors are elected by local residents to represent a local area or ward. Lambeth has 63 elected councillors. They represent people in 21 wards, with three councillors for each ward.
We hold council elections for all councillors every four years, in May. The most recent elections were in May 2010. Currently, there are 43 Labour Party councillors, 15 Liberal Democrat councillors, four Conservative councillors, one Independent Labour councillor. Councillors in the Labour group run the council and are known as 'the administration'.
Leadership in Lambeth
Lambeth operates a 'leader with cabinet' decision-making system. Our constitution outlines the rules and processes by which this system works. Most meetings are open to the public, and are listed in the calendar of meetings. The decision-making committees which make up the council are set out below.
Full council is made up of 63 councillors and meets four or five times a year. The leader of the council is Councillor Lib Peck. She was appointed at the Council meeting held on 30 January 2013 until the next election due in May 2014. She appoints other members of the cabinet and allocates their portfolios. The full council decides on the size and membership of the overview and scrutiny committee and other committees. The law requires the full council to agree the budget and key policies and strategies. The public may submit questions to each meeting and councillors debate options on important issues concerning the borough.
The cabinet is made up of ten councillors from the Labour administration. It meets monthly. Each cabinet member has a portfolio that covers an individual area of responsibility. The leader of the council leads the cabinet and chairs the meetings. The cabinet makes the most important 'key decisions'.
The forward plan is published every Friday and sets out proposed 'key decisions' to be taken by the cabinet and officers: decisions about spending or savings above £500,000 or which significantly affect two or more wards. The plan describes the decision to be made, a date for it to be taken, details of planned consultation with local people and other stakeholders, and contact details for further information.
Scrutiny committees have the dual purpose of holding the executive decision-makers to account and contributing to long-term policy development within the council. There are five scrutiny sub-committees, which are overseen by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Other decision making
Various committees deal with other areas of decision-making. Most are advisory, but others, such as licensing or planning committees, have decision-making powers that are separate from the cabinet. These are known as quasi-judicial committees as they have separately defined legal powers. Further information can be found on the planning applications committee procedure guidance page. A list of pending licensing applications can be found on the Licensing Act 2003 - pending applications page.
The Standards Committee is responsible for promoting high ethical standards among councillors and for hearing complaints about breaches of the Member's Code of Conduct. The corporate committee deals with detailed issues that are not suitable for debate by the full council.
Decision making by officers
Officers can also take decisions under 'delegated powers'; these are outlined in the scheme of delegation in part 3 of the constitution. The officer strategic leadership board in Lambeth is led by the chief executive and four executive directors who lead the council's four departments:
- Adults' and Community Services
- Children and Young People's Service
- Finance and Resources
- Housing, Regeneration and Environment.
Important delegated decisions taken by officers are recorded on the Officer decisions page.
Decision making structure
Download a diagram of Lambeth's decision making structure and management structure.