STAGE 5: IMPLEMENTING THE DECISION
The final stage of the decision-making process is what occurs after the actual decision is made. There are two key elements to this stage. The first is working out how the administration will provide reports to council on the implementation of the decision. The second is telling constituents about the decision.
Progress reports for council
One aspect of the Chief Executive Officer’s role is to ensure that council decisions are implemented in an effective and timely fashion.
Part of this phase is to establish a process for regularly reporting to council on how the implementation is progressing. This not only allows the administration to demonstrate its accountability to the council, but also provides the council with the information it needs to meet its accountability to its community.
Talking publicly about council decisions
A unique feature of local government is that all decisions are taken in the name of the whole council. Councillors are bound by the council decision, regardless of whether they were in favour of it or not. This is how councillors’ accountability to the council works.
The councillors’ role means that they are also accountable to their constituents who may have voted for them on the basis of a pledge to achieve a particular outcome. When a council decision contradicts a promise made by a councillor during an election, they need to be able to indicate to their constituents that they did not agree with the decision.
If this needs to be done, it should be done in such a way that it doesn’t undermine the council decision. The councillor should focus on the content of the decision rather than resorting to inflammatory statements which can be both destructive and undermining. For example, stating that ‘the council has done X, even though I support Y’ is preferable to saying ‘the council has done X because they don’t care about the community’.