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Guide: How to stand for Election - Information for Candidates

Part 1

The County Council

There are 60 councillors who make up Devon County Council. (known as Members) whom you elect every four years.The County Council is the overall policymaking body although a great deal of the detailed work is left to Committees or in some cases smaller groups of members. The Council meets 5 times a year, at County Hall, and meetings of the full Council are held to consider and approve the decisions or recommendations of Committees. Many of the Councils main meetings are webcast.

The County Council is responsible for setting the overall policy framework and for deciding the level of each year’s Council Tax. The Council meeting in February also agrees the budget and sets the Council Tax for the following year.  The Guide to Committee Meetings gives further information.

Devon County Council is the largest local authority in South West England and provides education, social care, highways and rights of way, libraries, waste disposal, consumer protection, strategic planning, economic development and regeneration and a wide range of other services. Its budget has to cover;

  • Population: 750,100
  • Schools and pupils
  • Children looked after
  • Adults helped to live at home
  • Residential and nursing care
  • Libraries and Mobile Libraries
  • Roads: 12,850 kms (7,985 miles)
  • Bridges: 3,500
  • Public Rights of Way: 4,940 kms or 3,070 miles
  • Streetlights: 71,000
  • Illuminated road signs: 10,917
  • Recycling Centres: 20

This equates to 85% of all Local Government services being administered by the County Council to people in the administrative county of Devon. See facts and figures on the County of Devon.

The Local Government Act 2000 requires councils to adopt a written constitution which sets out how the Council works, how it makes decisions and how Councillors and officers should work and behave.

The Constitution covers in detail areas such as;

  • The Council’s Executive arrangements
  • Scheme of delegation
  • Terms of reference for committees
  • Procedural rules for all committees
  • Standing orders
  • Code of conduct for Members
  • Code of conduct for officers
  • The professional staff structure, including the roles and responsibilities of the Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer, County Treasurer and other Heads of Services
  • Audit arrangements

As you can see, the Constitution covers a number of separate documents and runs to over 200 pages. It is updated when required, in line with new and changing legislation or Government Regulations or structural changes within the organisation.

The most important issues from a Councillors perspective are the

Any queries on the Council’s Constitution should be directed to the Head of Democratic Services