How Does Richmond Council Make Decisions?

We’re not the most political of sites.  There are others that do a much better job of that.

But recently we were asked how the council makes decisions and so we thought we’d do a little research.  It turns out there are a number of different groups with differing powers and responsibilities – and it appears to be less about ‘how’ they make decisions… but ‘who’ makes decisions.

Full Council

The Full Council sets the budget and policy framework within which the Cabinet must operate as well as making appointments across the council’s various committees (and electing the Leader).

There are currently 54 members of the council, and at time of writing they were made up of 39 Conservatives and 15 Liberal Democrats… and no others.

The Richmond Council website not only lists all their names, but all their email addresses and in some cases their home or mobile phone numbers!

The Cabinet

The Cabinet and its Members (also known as the Executive) are responsible for taking the majority of decisions.  It is chaired by the Leader of the Council, meets every month and is also open to members of the public.

The Cabinet includes the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, the Strategic Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, the Strategic Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Business and Community, the Strategic Cabinet Member for Performance and Community Safety, the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene, the Cabinet Member for Community, Planning and the Voluntary Sector, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Health and the Cabinet Member for Arts, Culture and Sport.

All the Cabinet members are appointed by the Leader of the Council.


Finally, committees – the very essence of bureaucracy.  There are two main types of committee in Richmond Council.

  1. The Overview and Scrutiny Committees – Review and scrutinise the decisions of the Executive and conduct reviews of policy and services – they have a ‘check and balance’ relationship with the Council’s Executive… which seems like a good thing.  There are 3 of these committees; the Scrutiny Committee, the Health Scrutiny Committee and the Call-In Sub-Committee… plus a number of more flexible and informal Scrutiny Panels.
  2. Regulatory Committees – The Regulatory Committee is the Council’s main licensing body and the Planning Committee considers planning applications, enforcement reports and tree preservation orders that have been referred to it.

The Plans

And if you’re interested in discovering more about ‘what’ the Council is focused on, we recommend the Policies and Plans page on their website.