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How we make decisions

How we work

On 14 May 2019, the Council moved to a committee system model of governance. This involves the Council making the majority of its decisions through one of its five Committees. These Committees cover each of the Council’s main service areas. In addition to the Committees, the Full Council which consists of all 54 Councillors is responsible for setting and approving the budget and policy framework for the Council year to year.

There are also a range of other Council Committees and bodies which are responsible for making various decisions relating to Council functions and services. This includes the Policy and Performance Review Board which is a non-decision making Board, responsible for reviewing policy and performance.

You can attend and participate in many Council meetings where decisions are made.

Full Council

The full Council is responsible for setting and approving the budget and policy framework within which the Committees must operate. It is the ultimate policy making body for Richmond upon Thames.

The Council is also responsible for electing the Leader and Deputy Leader and appointing members of the Committees, the Policy Performance and Review Board and members of other committees and bodies.

Full Council meetings are open to the public and questions to Committee Chairs may be registered in advance. View how to participate in Full Council meetings.

Councillors can also present petitions to Council. Any petition proposed by a member of the public which has reached the necessary threshold will also be debated.

Full Council agendas and minutes


Each Committee is responsible for a specific Council service area and will take decisions relating to their service area. If a decision or issue cuts across the remit of more than one Committee, this will be considered by the Finance, Policy and Resources Service Committee.

Committees take Key decisions as well as any other decisions which are considered to be of particular public interest or otherwise requested by a member of the particular Committee.

Key decisions

These are decisions affecting large numbers of residents or involving large sums of money. A key decision is defined as:

  1. A decision which is likely to result in significant expenditure or savings of over £500,000, or
  2. A decision which is likely to be significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in two or more Wards

Upcoming key decisions are listed in the Forward Plan.

Policy and Performance Review Board

The Policy and Performance Board supports the five Committees by investigating specific issues of service performance and carrying out policy development and review work.

Regulatory Committees

The Regulatory Committee is the Council’s main licensing body.  The Licensing Sub-Committee is a sub-committee of the Regulatory Committee and determines individual licensing applications.

More about the Regulatory Committee

More about the Licensing Sub-Committee

Planning Committee

The Planning Committee considers planning applications, enforcement reports and tree preservation orders that have been referred to it.

Not every planning application necessarily goes before the Committee; senior Council officers decide many applications under delegated powers.

More about the Planning Committee

Audit, Standards and Statutory Accounts Committee

This Audit, Standards and Statutory Accounts Committee monitors and provides independent assurance on the Council’s risk management framework, internal control environment, treasury management strategies and annual governance processes. The Committee also assures the integrity of financial reporting at the Council and is responsible for monitoring the arrangements in place to defend the Council against fraud and corruption.

Further, the Committee is responsible for promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct and probity within the Council and receives investigation reports and conducts hearing into alleged breaches of the Members’ Code of Conduct by Members and Co-Opted Members.

This committee also considers the Council’s Statement of Accounts.

Other Council Committees and Bodies

There are a range of other committees, statutory bodies and joint committees which are responsible for taking decisions or advising on a range of Council functions.

Learn more about other committees.

Updated: 31 October 2023

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