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Constitution of Dorset County Council

After consulting local people and interested organisations about how Dorset County Council should be organised to best meet local needs, Dorset County Council agreed a Constitution which came into effect in October 2001.

The Constitution sets out the arrangements for speedy, efficient and clear decision-making about the services provided. It also provides the framework within which elected members and officers of the county council work together to continuously improve the provision of services to the people of Dorset.

Each year the county council publish a Corporate Performance Plan containing information about priorities for the forthcoming year and targets for performance. The decision-making arrangements will improve our ability to meet those goals.

Summary of key points from the Constitution

The Constitution is a very detailed document divided into sixteen 'Articles' which state what is to be done and by whom. Other sections of the Constitution set out how the Articles will be put into effect through methods including Rules of Procedure and Codes of Conduct.

The Constitution is at the heart of the Dorset County Council's business. It explains the allocation of power and responsibility within the county council, and explains how it will work with other public bodies. For example, it records the delegation of authority to particular decision-making bodies and to individual officers to make decisions about its business.

The county council has agreed that the purpose of its Constitution is to:

  • Enable the county council to provide clear leadership to the community in partnership with members of the public, businesses and other organisations

  • Support the active involvement of members of the public in the process of local authority decision-making

  • Help county councillors represent their electors more effectively

  • Enable decisions to be take efficiently and effectively

  • Provide a means of improving the delivery of services to the community

  • Create a powerful and effective means of holding decision-makers to public account

  • Ensure that no member will review or scrutinise a decision in which they were directly involved

  • Ensure that those responsible for decision-making are clearly identifiable to local people and that they explain the reasons for decisions

The constitution is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

Contents (pdf, 13kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 1 Summary Explanation (pdf, 28kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 03 (pdf, 17kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 4-8 (pdf, 106kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 9 (pdf, 12kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 01 (pdf, 11kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 02 (pdf, 18kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Articles 10 (pdf, 96kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 11 (pdf, 51kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 2 Article 12-16 (pdf, 53kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 3 Scheme of Delegation (pdf, 116kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 4 Contract Procedure Rules (pdf, 114kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 4 Council Procedure Rules - Standing Orders (pdf, 155kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 4 Officer Employment Procedure Rules (pdf, 25kb) (opens in a new window)

(Includes Access to Information Procedure Rules, Budget and Policy Framework Rules, Executive Procedure Rules, Overview and Scrutiny Committee Rules, Financial Regulations,  Contract Procedure Rules and Officer Employment Procedure Rules)

Part 4 Rules of Procedure pages 4-29 to 4-64 (pdf, 196kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 5 Protocol for Members Officer Relations (pdf, 58kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 5 Protocol on engaging and consulting local members (pdf, 35kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 5 Code of Conduct for Members and Staff (pdf, 56kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 5 Petitions Scheme (pdf, 28kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 6 Members allowances scheme (pdf, 13kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 7 Management structure (pdf, 13kb) (opens in a new window)

Part 8 Members of the County Council (pdf, 7kb) (opens in a new window)

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