Cornwall Council Governance Review

Posted on: 19th June 2016

Cornwall Council Governance Review was agreed by Full Council in May. The draft minutes read:


During discussion it was commented that the proposed arrangements for the Governance Review were unnecessarily cumbersome and there was concern that too great an emphasis was being placed on doing the exercise quickly rather than doing it right.  Despite objections to some of the report detail the urgency of the Review was recognised because of the deadlines of the Cornwall Electoral Review.

It was moved by Councillor Dolphin, seconded by Councillor Egerton and


  1. That the principle of the proposed Governance Review be approved.
  2. That the arrangements and timescales for the establishment and implementation of the Governance Review be approved.
  3. That the draft terms of reference for and the membership of the Steering Group as set out at Annex 2 to this report, be approved.
  4. That the draft terms of reference for the Governance Review External Group as set out at Annex 3 to this report, be approved.
  5. That the membership of the Governance Review External Group be determined and appointed by the Leader in full consultation with the Group Leaders and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Constitution and Governance Committee.

Full papers from that meeting here

This review is in parallel with the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), Electoral Review, for Cornwall, looking at how many Councillors Cornwall there should be from 2021 and whether ward boundaries should be changed; further information here.

Both reviews are important to the Governance of Cornwall and the democratic voice for local people. To those not closely involved in such matters they can seem dull and unimportant but the outcome from both reviews will touch every community so hopefully people will give some time to get involved when opportunities arise.

Councillor Sue James, representing the St Just ward is concerned that the review, influenced by Government, might come up with a proposal for an elected Mayor for Cornwall. Below you can see how that would compare to the current Leader and Cabinet system of Governance.

What is the difference between a Leader and Elected Mayor?
Cornwall Council currently operates a Leader and Cabinet model. The table below explains the similarities and differences between a Leader and Cabinet model and an Elected Mayor and Cabinet model:
Leader and Cabinet Elected Mayor and Cabinet
The Leader is an elected councillor chosen by the other elected councillors The Elected Mayor is elected by local residents
The Leader is elected by the Council for a period of up to four years and can only be removed if there is a vote to do this which is supported by the majority of other Councillors The Elected Mayor holds office for four years and cannot be removed by the Council
There is no additional cost associated with the election of a Leader which would take place at a meeting of the Council The Elected Mayor is chosen every four years by local residents in a formal election. This would be in addition to the local elections, which would continue to take place.
Each year the Leader and Cabinet present a budget and major policies to the Council. They can be approved by a simple majority.  Any changes proposed by the Council also require a simple majority of the Council Each year the Elected Mayor presents a budget and major policies to the Council. They can be approved by a simple majority but any changes proposed by the Council must have the support of at least two thirds of the Council
The Leader is one of the elected Councillors The Mayor is in addition to the elected councillors
The role of a Mayor and Chief Executive Officer of the Council can merge. This means that a Mayor will have much more administrative power than a Council Leader.