Richmondshire District Council is one of seven District Councils
in North Yorkshire. It was created in 1974 by amalgamation of a
number of smaller Local Authorities and contains two of the best
known Yorkshire Dales – Swaledale and Wensleydale. There are 101
parishes within the District, electing 34 Members to the
Until May 1999 Richmondshire was an Independent Council.
Following the elections in May 1999, political groups were
formed. At present the Council comprises of the
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Richmondshire District Council
The Richmondshire District Council has agreed
a Constitution which sets out how
the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures
which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent
and accountable to local people. Some of these processes are
required by law, while others are a matter for the Council to
The Constitution is divided into 17 articles which set out the
basic rules governing the Council's business.
More detailed procedures and codes of practice are provided in
separate rules and protocols at the end of the document.
What is in the Constitution?
Article 1 of the Constitution commits the Council to
operating in accordance with its constitution. Articles 2-17
explain the rights of citizens and how the key parts of the Council
operate. These are:
- Members of the Council (Article 2).
- Citizens and the Council (Article 3).
- The Full Council (Article 4).
- Chairing the Council (Article 5).
- Overview and Scrutiny Committees (Article 6).
- Strategy Board and other committees (Article 7).
- The Standards Committee (Article 8).
- Area Committees and Parish Forums (Article 9).
- Joint Arrangements (Article 10).
- Officers (Article 11).
- Decision Making (Article 12).
- Finance, Contracts and Legal Matters (Article 13).
- Review and Revision of the Constitution (Article 14).
- Suspension, Interpretation and Publication of the Constitution
- Strategy Board Spokespersons (Article 16).
- Appointments to Outside Bodies (Article 17).
How the Council Operates
The Council is composed of 34 Councillors elected every four years.
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 ensure
high standards in the way they undertake their duties. The Audit,
Governance and Standards Committee trains and advises them on the
code of conduct.
All Councillors meet together as the Council. Meetings of the Council are normally
open to the public. Here Councillors decide the Council's overall
policies and set the budget each year; determine the Council's main
plans; provide a forum for debate on issues of general concern to
the area; hear reports back from parish forum meetings and review
the Council's overall performance.
How Decisions are Made
Most day-to-day decisions are made by a
committees. The Council has a Strategy Board which deals with
all of its functional responsibilities. Some Committees also carry
out a number of regulatory functions, including dealing with
Meetings of the Council's committees are publicised well in
advance and are open to the public except where exempt or
confidential matters are being discussed.
Please click here to view Committee
Agendas, Minutes and Reports.
Overview and Scrutiny
There are two Overview and Scrutiny committees
which support the work of the policy committees and the Council as
a whole. They allow citizens to have a greater say in Council
matters by holding public inquiries into matters of local concern.
These can lead to reports and recommendations which advise
the Strategy Board and the Council as a whole on its
policies, budget and service delivery. Overview and Scrutiny
committees also monitor the decisions of the Strategy Board. They
can 'call-in' a decision which has been made by a policy committee
but not yet implemented. This enables them to consider whether the
decision is appropriate. They may recommend that the Strategy Board
or full council reconsider the decision. They may also be consulted
by policy committees on forthcoming decisions and the development
of policy. Both Overview and Scrutiny committees are involved in
assisting the council to comply with its statutory duty to deliver
'best value' in its services and in policy review and
To find out more about Overview & Scrutiny please click here.
The Council's Staff
The Council has people working for it (called
'officers') to give advice, implement decisions and manage the
day-to-day delivery of its services. Some officers have a specific
duty to ensure that the Council acts within the law and uses its
resources wisely. A code of practice governs the relationships
between officers and members of the Council.
Citizens have a number of rights in their dealings with the
Council. These are set out in more detail in Article 3. Some of
these are legal rights, whilst others depend on the Council's own
processes. The local Citizens' Advice Bureau can advise on
individuals' legal rights.
Where members of the public use specific council services, for
example as a council tenant, they may have additional rights. These
are not covered in this Constitution.
Citizens have the right to:
- vote at local elections if they are registered;
- contact their local councillor about any matters of concern to
- obtain a copy of the Constitution;
- attend meetings of the Council and its committees except where,
for example, personal or confidential matters are being
- petition to request a referendum on a mayoral form of
- participate in the Council's question time, parish forums and
contribute to investigations by the overview and scrutiny
- complain to the Council via its published complaints
- complain to the Ombudsman if they think the Council has not
followed its procedures properly. However, they should normally
only do this after using the Council's own complaints process;
- complain to the Monitoring Officer if they have evidence
which they think shows that a councillor has not followed the
Council's Code of Conduct; and
- inspect the Council's accounts and make their views known to
the external auditor.
The Council welcomes participation by its citizens in its work.
For further information on your rights as a citizen, please contact
the Democratic Services Manager on 01748 829100 Ext
A statement of the rights of citizens to inspect agendas and
reports and attend meetings is available at the Council's