The Council's Constitution
Our constitution sets out how the council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures we follow to make sure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Some of these processes are required by the law, while others we have chosen.
The constitution is divided into 16 articles which set out the basic principles governing council business. There are also more detailed procedures and codes of practice set out in separate rules and protocols.
Article one commits the council to protect and enhance the quality of life of the citizens and communities of West Oxfordshire, and sets out six key aims for achieving this. It explains:
- the purpose of the constitution and how they relate to these aims
- how disputes about the interpretation of the constitution may be resolved
- how the constitution should be kept under review.
If you would like to see a paper copy of the constitution you can visit our Woodgreen or Elmfield offices in Witney or the Guildhall in Chipping Norton. You can also contact us if you would like to buy a copy for £10 plus postage.
How the council operates
The council is made up of 49 councillors. Councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their ward. The overriding duty of councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.
Councillors have to agree to follow a code of conduct to make sure they do their duties to a high standard. The Standards Committee trains and advises them on the Code of Conduct.
All councillors meet as the council usually five or six times a year. Meetings of the council are normally open to the public. Here councillors decide the council's overall policies and set the budget each year. The council:
- is responsible for appointing the Leader and committees of the Council,
- is responsible for holding the executive and the committees to account for the decisions they take,
- may ask the executive to reconsider a decision.
Members of the public may address the council, the executive and committees in line with the scheme for public participation in council and committee meetings.