The London Borough of Hounslow is committed to open government. It is encouraging local people to have their say on the decisions that affect them, their families and community as a whole. The council recognises that it is therefore important to provide as much information about these decisions as possible. One way in which we do this is by publishing a Forward Plan.
What is the Forward Plan?
The Forward Plan is a document that sets out information about ‘key decisions’ that the council will make at the next cabinet meeting or at other bodies/people that may make them. The list includes all the key decisions we expect to take, and gives at least 28 days notice of them, in advance of the decision. By law, councils must publish these in a monthly Forward Plan. This provides the public with the opportunity to be aware of important matters which are coming up.
The Forward Plan lists the key decisions to be taken by the Cabinet, Cabinet Sub-Groups (like the Affordable Housing Committee), the Leader and Cabinet Members, and occasionally by officers using powers delegated to them by councillors.
Although there is no legal requirement to do so, the Council also lists important non-key decisions that will also be taken by the Cabinet and also by the Council. This is part of its commitment to transparency and public accountability. It may also list key decisions that are expected to be taken further in the future, when this is known (so it may include not just all the key decisions expected to be taken at the Cabinet meeting, but also some that are already planned for meetings after that).
What is a ‘key decision’?
The London Borough of Hounslow’s definition for a “key decision’ is a Cabinet (or Cabinet level) decision that:
- is likely to result in the Council incurring expenditure which is, or the making of savings which are, significant having regard to the Council’s budget for the service or function to which the decision relates;
- is likely to be significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area of two or more wards of the Borough.
A decision is significant for these purposes if it involves expenditure or the making of savings of an amount in excess of £1 million for capital expenditure or £500,000 for revenue expenditure or, where expenditure or savings are less than the amounts specified above, they constitute more than 50% of the budget attributable to the service in question.
What information is included in the Forward Plan?
In relation to each ‘key decision’, the Forward Plan includes as much of the following information as is available when it is published. Each entry will usually include:
- The title or subject matter of the report and any reference number it has been given.
- The Officer and Lead Cabinet Member contact details
- The name of the decision making body/individual which will make the decision.
- The documents will be made available to the decision maker and any consultation that is likely to be involved.
- The date when the decision will be taken, where this is known.
As already stated, in addition to key decisions, the Forward Plan also lists the other non-key decisions to be taken by the Cabinet, other Cabinet-level bodies, and also the Borough Council (although standard agenda items such as petitions, motions, council questions, appointments to committees, etc. will not be listed.)
Copies of documents
Copies of documents referred to in the Forward Plan can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You should quote the reference number of the report and the report title as it appears on the Forward Plan when making a request.
Please note that prior to the decision being made, it is possible that other documents to those listed in the Forward Plan may be submitted to the decision maker for consideration. If that is the case the procedure for obtaining copies of these other documents, if any, is the same as set out above although you should make it clear that you are requesting any other documents that have been submitted, if any, and quote the report reference number and title as it appears in the Forward Plan.
Occasionally a report or part of a report may contain information that is exempt under Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended. Where this is the case the Forward Plan will set out a reference number in the column titled 'Exempt Information’. The key for the reference number is as follows:
- Information relating to an individual.
- Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
- Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Council).
- Information relating to any consultations or negotiations in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the Council or Minister of the crown and employees of or office holders of the Council.
- Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
- Information which reveals that the Council proposes to give a notice under any enactment by or under which requirements are imposed on a person, or to make an order or direction under any enactment.
- Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
Please note that where a report or part of it is exempt, the public will not have access to it nor will any debate relating to it take place in the presence of members of the public or the press.
The Forward Plan is to be treated as advance notice of the decision making meeting taking place either in whole or in part in private and the reference number treated as the reason why that is the case.
Making representations about private meetings
Members of the public are entitled to make representations as to why a particular decision should be held in public and if you wish to do so you should send your representation to email@example.com a minimum of 10 clear working days before the date set out in the Forward Plan on which the decision will be made so that your representation may be considered. Where it is determined that despite representations received a meeting or part of a meeting will take place in private, the Council will publish a notice indicating this and which will set out a statement of the reasons why the meeting will be held in private, details of the representations received and a statement in response. This notice will be published with the meeting agenda and public reports on the Council's website.
Have your say
If you would like to comment on any decision included in the forward plan please contact us to ensure your comments are considered by those taking the decision.
You can also obtain a copy of the forward plan by contacting: