Councils meet for a number of different reasons, all of which have different legal and social implications. The most common reason is that the UK Government wishes to invite representatives from local communities to take part in the running of local government on a regular basis. This is seen as being in the best interests of the local residents in question, because participation can help to ensure that their voices are heard. It is also thought to have a positive effect on the development of local communities. However, how does the purpose of a council assembly differ from, say, a local leisure centre?
In order to better understand the purpose of the assembly, it helps to take a look at how they work. The main feature is that there is a quorum, which can be either a minimum or maximum amount of people. This will determine the order in which the various speakers can give their speech. It can also be the basis for votes of confidence or disaffirmance. To make sure that there is agreement about the quorum and the proceedings, the speaker may ask for the votes of confidence of a majority of those present and then announce that the meeting is being suspended until further notice.
The assembly has the power to make decisions, subject to the approval of a majority of those present and the granting of a motion of confidence. Once this is done, a report will go forward to the resident’s local residents or owners. They will then decide on the outcome of the matter. A record of the decision will then be published.
Whilst a majority of the members of a local authority have to give their consent to the decision, there are a few instances where this is not required. For example, if a company decides to put up a restaurant in a local area, the company will not have to seek the approval of the council in order to do so. The same applies to certain types of artistic expressions. No formal written submission is needed and no formal voting takes place. The decision can be informal and one member can simply present the document to the other members of the council assembly.
If this informal way of making decisions were practiced throughout the UK, then it would ensure that the local residents would always have some control over the decisions that are made by their own bodies. However, most councils have a closed session for the important decisions. The reason for this is to ensure that the decision-making process is not diluted. By guaranteeing that only a handful of people are present at each meeting, councilors ensure that the decision-making process remains honest and democratic. It also ensures that the decision-makers are aware of the opinions of the rest of the members present at the meeting.
In addition to ensuring that there are only a handful of members present at each meeting, this also prevents the assembly from becoming a rubber stamp for the decisions of the leaders of the councils. A true democracy requires that there is a level playing field between the councils and their members. Otherwise, the rule of law and justice is corrupted. With some exceptions, decisions by the assemblies are not law and order related. However, these decisions do have an impact on the repute of the council. A corrupt council will often be unable to deliver good public services.
Another way of preventing a Council Assembly from becoming a ‘rubber stamp’ is to involve the community in its deliberations. It is not enough for the elected members of a council to merely rubber stamp the decisions of their colleagues; they must also listen to the concerns of the local citizens. By inviting concerned citizens to take part in the meetings, the members of the assembly to become more interested in listening to the concerns of the local residents. This would encourage them to participate in future decision-making processes in a more meaningful way.
In conclusion, I believe that an effective participative method of decision-making is vital for a healthy democracy. In this system, there is a clear division of power between those who make the decisions and the people they administer. The decisions are not always popular, but they are not always wrong. They are also influenced by the interests of the wider society. The ultimate responsibility therefore lies with the elected councils. Only they can ensure a sustainable development that is consistent with its social agenda.