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Our Constitution

South Hams District Council has a Constitution, which is a legal document that guides the Council on its decision-making processes to ensure that we are efficient, transparent, and accountable to local people

The Constitution sets out how the Council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. Some of these processes are required by law, others are a matter for the Council to choose.

The Local Government Act 2000 requires a council to set out in a constitution how the council operates.

The following principles will guide the Council's decision-making:

  • The rule of law;
  • Reasonableness and proportionality;
  • a presumption in favour of openness;
  • the general principles of the Councillors' Code of Conduct;
  • due consultation and the taking of professional advice from officers or appropriately qualified consultants;
  • respect for human rights and equality, and considerations of biodiversity, sustainability, and the impact on crime and disorder;
  • consideration of the Council's Corporate Strategy and Themes; and
  • clarity of aims and desired outcomes.

The Council's Staff

The Council has people working directly and indirectly for it (called 'Officers') to give advice, implement decisions and manage the day-to-day delivery of its services. Some Officers have a specific duty to ensure that the Council acts within the law and uses its resources wisely.


Updates to the Constitution

Our Constitution is being significantly reviewed and updated.  Not all of the new Chapters are complete. The Council is expected to consider the remaining chapters of the Constitution at its meeting in July 2022. 

When completely updated the links (in red text) will allow you to move around the document to find the things that you want to know.  Until then, the links contained are not be live.

If you have any questions about the Constitution, please contact Democratic Services.

Download a Copy of the Constitution (PDF) [3MB] (opens new window)

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