How we make decisions

We have a ‘Leader and Cabinet’ style of decision making. This was adopted on 22 May 2001. The Council carries out its decision making in a number of ways. 

Please note - on 14 May 2019, at the Annual Council meeting, Councillors will consider the adoption of a committee system to commence on 15 May 2019. More information on these proposed new governance arrangements will be available in May 2019.

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

Full Council

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

Council is also responsible for appointments, electing the Leader, members of the Cabinet and members of other committees such as Overview and Scrutiny.

Full Council meetings are open to the public and questions to Cabinet members may be registered in advance. More information on participating in Full Council.

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


The Cabinet and its Members (also referred to collectively as the Executive) operate within the policy framework and budget set by Full Council, and are responsible for taking most day-to day decisions.

Cabinet is chaired by the Leader of the Council, who appoints Members and gives them individual portfolios.

The Cabinet meets monthly and meetings are open to the public.

Cabinet agendas and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Overview and Scrutiny Committees are made up of non-executive Councillors who review and scrutinise the decisions of the Executive and conduct reviews of policy and services.

Overview and Scrutiny Committees have a ‘check and balance’ relationship with the Council’s Executive.

More about Scrutiny

Regulatory Committees

The Council's regulatory functions are carried out by ‘non-executive’ committees. The two main regulatory functions carried out by committees are licensing and planning. The Regulatory Committee is the Council’s main licensing body.  It also forms Sub-Committees to determine 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

Officer Decisions

Officers are able to take certain types of decision. We publish key decisions on our site.

What are key decisions?

These are decisions affecting large numbers of residents, or involving large sums of money. The level of impact that a decision might have affects how the decision can be made. The most significant type of decision is a ‘key’ decision.

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.

Updated: 25 March 2019