The Forward Plan is a list of the Council's key decisions that will be made over the next one to four months together with details of any reports being presented to the Cabinet that include confidential or exempt information. Key decisions can be made by either the Cabinet or Cabinet members, officers who have been delegated authority by the Council, the Health and Wellbeing Board or the Better Places Joint Committee.
A key decision is one which is likely to:
1) Require an amendment to the Community Plan Outcomes Framework or requires a recommendation to Council to amend the Budget and Policy Framework;
2) Result in the local authority incurring expenditure, raising income or making of savings in excess of £500,000; and,
3) Have a significant community impact.
For each key decision there will be a decision-making report, which will include a list of background papers.
Local authorities are required to specify 28 clear days in advance of a Cabinet meeting reports that are likely to contain confidential or exempt information and may result in the public and press being asked to leave the meeting for the consideration of that item.
The law specifies the grounds upon which local authorities can exclude the press and public, but these tend to be on matters about a person, information that would reveal their identity, contract matters that could reveal commercially sensitive information, consultations or negotiations relating to labour relations, or information in connection with preventing and detecting crime. The notice of exempt information will specify the paragraph that will require the press and public to be excluded, where relevant.
The usual approach though is not to exclude the press and public but to simply agree the material concerned cannot be disclosed or discussed at the meeting.
Details of how to make representations are also set out on the front page of the plan.
The Forward Plan is scheduled to be published weekly usually every Monday.
The plan includes a short description of the decision to be made; who will make it, when the decision will be taken, details of, the planned consultation with local people and other stakeholders, and contact details for further information (including reports and background papers).