Committees of the Council are bodies where a number of Councillors meet to discuss and decide or recommend decisions on the business of the Council. Councillors on committees have an equal say on the outcome (with an additional casting vote by the Chair, if needed).

A sub-committee ordinarily comprises a few members of a main committee to decide matters where it would be unnecessary or excessive in terms of resources and time for the full committee to meet to determine. An example of this is the Licensing sub-committee, where 3 separate members from the full membership of 15, are invited to determine individual cases on Licensing matters.

Full Council

Meetings of the full Council are open to the public. For building evacuation purposes only,  members of the public are expected to sign in/out when visiting the Guildhall.  These details are destroyed at the conclusion of the meeting.

Members of the public may speak on items on the agenda for decision, if notice is given by 12 noon the day before the meeting (refer to Standing Order 24).

Members of the public may also submit questions at a Council meeting if notice is given 11 days before the meeting (refer to Standing Order 25).

Notice must be given to democratic.services@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Details of the rules can be found in the Council's Constitution by clicking on the following link Standing Orders.

Please note questions from the public are not permitted at the Council's Annual and Budget meetings.

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Under the Executive arrangements, the full Council appoints its Leader for a period of 4 years, subject to certain conditions. The Leader then may appoint between 2 and 9 members from the ruling party (or parties only if in a formal coalition), known as the administration, to assist in running the Council. The Leader determines the responsibilities of each councillor appointed.  These responsibilities form their portfolio and each is a member of the Cabinet.  A Councillor with a Cabinet portfolio is individually responsible for its decisions.  Members of the other political parties may be appointed as spokespersons, but do not have a vote on the decision. The Leader and all Councillors with a Cabinet portfolio form the Cabinet, which meets to determine matters that significantly affect the city and its environs and matters which overlap portfolio areas of responsibility.

Regulatory Committees

Local authorities are not just service providers, they also act as regulators. This involves councillors in quasi-judicial roles on special committees appointed directly by the council (regulatory committees) such as Planning and Licensing and Planning committees. 

With the exception of the "Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel" and "Scrutiny Management Panel" (as the Oversight panel), scrutiny panels may not make decisions.

Scrutiny Management Panel's role is to oversee the Council's scrutiny function to hold Cabinet to account and question Cabinet members and officers about their decisions and performance. It also oversees the themed scrutiny panels and also reviews a decision which has been made by cabinet members either individually, or collectively at full Cabinet. Only Councillors may request that a decision be reviewed.  This process is known as a "Call-in" and specific rules apply concerning how this can be triggered and there are limited reasons for a call-in to be upheld. The themed scrutiny panels meet to either review a proposed policy (referred to as pre-decision scrutiny), ahead of a policy being introduced or to carry out an in depth investigation into a specific matter as agreed by the Scrutiny Management Panel.  On completion of a review, the scrutiny panel's recommendations are submitted to full Cabinet, for their consideration and decision on which recommendations to implement.

The Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel's role is to scrutinise all matters of health provision in the area.

On occasions, the Council is required to work more closely with neighbouring authorities or partner organisations on a formal basis.  The nature and origin of the body will determine whether it is a joint working body or an advisory body. Joint working bodies are more likely to have decision making powers, whereas advisory bodies tend only to report their views for further consideration.

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