Decision Making by Officers
Under the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations, 2012 and the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations, 2014 a written record of officer decisions made in connection with the discharge of certain executive and non-executive functions must be published and made available for inspection by members of the public as soon as reasonably practicable after they are made, along with any background papers.
This record must include the following in respect of every decision:
• Details of the decision and the date it was made.
• Reasons for the decision.
• Details of any other options considered and why those options were rejected.
• Details of any conflict of interest declared by any executive member consulted in relation to the decision or, where a decision is taken under a specific express authorisation, the names of any member of the council or local government body who has declared a conflict of interest must be recorded.
• In respect of any declared conflict of interest, a note of dispensation granted by the council’s Head of Paid Service/Monitoring Officer.
It should be noted that the requirement to record decisions relating to the executive extends only to “executive decisions”. These are defined in the council’s rules. However, many administrative and operational decisions officers take on how they deal with their day to day work will be delegated within the council’s rules and are not in this “executive decisions” category. As such they do not need to be recorded.
The requirement to record decisions taken by officers which are not relating to the executive functions of the council but are matters for the council, extend only to decisions taken by officers acting under a specific express authorisation and to only three categories of decision taken whilst acting under a general authorisation. These categories cover decisions to –
• Grant a permission or licence
• Affects the rights of an individual
• Award a contract or incur expenditure which, in either case, materially affects that relevant local government body’s financial position.
Administrative and operational decisions about how officers go about their day to day work within the council’s rules do not need to be recorded.
Background documents relating to any executive decisions which contain “exempt information” as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) cannot be made available for public inspection and are therefore not published or made available in accordance with Regulation 20(3) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
Details of officer decisions which are required to be published in accordance with the above arrangements and can be viewed here.