NHDC is run by Councillors who are elected by the local community. Councillors are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the local community about local services and budgets, such as Council Tax. Each Councillor represents a specific area and serves for a period of four years. The work of a Councillor may include holding surgeries to help local people, supporting local organisations, campaigning on local issues, and developing links with all parts of the community.
Councillors are not paid a salary or wages, but they are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out their public duties. All Councillors abide by a code of conduct, part of which requires them to declare any financial interests, gifts, or hospitality that could influence any decisions they make.
The Leader of the Council is Councillor Martin Stears-Handscomb. The post of the Leader is elected by all members of the Council at annual Council meetings. The Leader chairs all meetings of the Council’s Cabinet and leads on policy development and implementation.
The Cabinet is an executive group responsible for the overall business of the Council. The Cabinet comprises the Leader of the Council, who is the Chairman, and seven other members appointed by the Council. Each of the members of the Cabinet has a defined portfolio of responsibilities.
In a joint administration a ‘deputy’ to an Executive portfolio holder may be appointed. That deputy will be invited to attend relevant meetings of the Executive (formal or informal) where executive functions are discussed, give their opinion and for this to be taken into account by the Executive decision maker or Cabinet, although they are not formally part of the Cabinet Executive nor an Executive decision maker. This does not apply to the Deputy Leader.
The decisions of the Cabinet are subject to scrutiny by a different group of Councillors, who meet as the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to check and monitor what the Cabinet does.