How the Council Works
Following the elections on 7 May 2015 Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has 54 elected council members, representing 24 wards. Elections of the whole council are held every four years.
Councillors' overriding duty is to the whole community, but they are democratically accountable to all the residents of their ward.
A system of cabinet decision-making replaced the old committee system on 1 January 2002. It flowed from the Local Government Act 2000, which required council decision making to become more efficient, transparent and accountable.
The Constitution sets out how the council operates, how decisions are made and what procedures are followed to ensure business is carried out in a lawful, clear and accountable way. The operation of the Constitution is monitored and reviewed by the Monitoring Officer to ensure that its aims and principles are given full effect.
A substantive review of the Constitution has been undertaken and this was approved by Full Council on 31 July 2018.
The Leader and five Cabinet members are responsible for most day-to-day decisions. Apart from the Leader, each member has responsibility for particular service areas. When major or "key" decisions are to be discussed or made they are, wherever possible, published in the Notice of Forthcoming Key Decisions and taken collectively by the whole Cabinet. Any decisions to be taken by the Cabinet in private are indicated in the Notice of intention to hold a private meeting (or part thereof).
The full Council of 54 members approves and adopts the budget and key policies within which Cabinet decisions are taken. Council appoints members of committees and holds them and the Cabinet to account for the decisions they take.
Overview and Scrutiny
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee monitors decisions made by the Cabinet and can call in decisions which have not been implemented. It can recommend that the Cabinet reconsiders its decisions and can hold public inquiries into matters of local concern.
Area Planning Committees
The Council has a system of Advisory Boards which gives all members the chance to discuss matters as they arise and assist the Cabinet in its decision-making. The boards meet four times a year to discuss issues and make recommendations to members of the Cabinet.