Westmeath County Council was established under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. It has its administrative headquarters in Mullingar. The Council is mandated to deliver a diverse range of functions and services which can be broadly described under the headings of economic development, community development, provision of physical and social infrastructure, recreation and amenity services, and the enforcement of the planning and environmental regulatory framework.
The representative structure of the Council consists of 20 democratically elected members from the Municipal Districts of Mullingar-Kinnegad and Athlone-Moate who form Westmeath County Council. The role of the elected council is to determine strategic policy and to represent the general view of the citizens who elected them. The elected members exercise their authority by way of reserved functions, and do so in public session at each of the Council meetings.
The elected council is assisted in its policy deliberations by four Strategic Policy Committees in the areas of:
The membership of the Strategic Policy Committees is drawn from the Council members, sectoral representatives and community representatives.
The chairpersons of the Strategic Policy Committees, with the Cathaoirleach of the Council, form the Corporate Policy Group. The Corporate Policy Group, supported by the Chief Executive, has statutory functions including the preparation of the Annual Budget and the preparation and ongoing monitoring of the Corporate Plan.
Following the dissolution of Athlone and Mullingar Town Councils, two Municipal Districts were established in Westmeath, the Municipal Districts of Athlone-Moate and Mullingar-Kinnegad. These Municipal Districts provide increased scope for local decision making by elected members at district level with the work programme of the district set out in the Annual Schedule of Municipal District Works.
The day-to-day operational decisions which derive from the implementation of council policies and the delivery of services are a matter for the Chief Executive of the Council. Such executive functions include all staff matters, individual planning decisions, the award of grants and loans, the allocation of houses and the management of the Council’s assets. The Council’s staff operates under the direction and control of the Chief Executive.
The Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is a committee of the Council which has recently been established. Its primary role is to develop, co-ordinate and implement a coherent and integrated approach to local and community development. The membership of the LCDC comprises a range of statutory and non-statutory socio-economic partners drawn from the county.
A new framework for public engagement and participation in local government called the Public Participation Network (PPN) was established in 2014. The PPN will be the main link through which the Council connects with the community including social inclusion and environmental groups. The PPN facilitates input by the public into local government through a structure which ensures public participation and representation on decision-making committees and bodies within the Council such as the SPCs and the LCDC.
Current Municipal Districts
Details of the nature, role, responsibilities
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