A County Assembly Committee is a group of Members of the County Assembly designated to do the detailed work of the County Assembly. The Members are expected to work together toward a common goal, and may work without the restrictions of formality. Section 14 (1)(b) of the County Governments Act, 2012 provides that subject to the standing orders, a county assembly “may establish committees in such a manner and for such general or special purposes as it considers fit, and regulate the procedure of any committee so established”. Committees perform specific roles on behalf of the Assembly. Therefore, their mandate and powers are given by the Assembly, through the County Assembly Standing Orders (Second Edition) or resolution by the County Assembly. This therefore implies that the mandate and powers cannot be assumed by the Committees i.e. the Committee may not go beyond the scope of the particular duties entrusted to it by the Standing Orders or by resolution of the Assembly. The Committees may also not work independently of the Assembly. The power and mandate of the Committee are for the whole Committee not its individual members i.e. the mandate of Committees has to be exercised or discharged at a properly constituted meeting. No decision of the Committee is binding unless the meeting was properly constituted in terms of notice of meeting, quorum and the leadership. Committees of the Assembly make recommendations to the Plenary of the Assembly in the form of resolutions. Their recommendations may or may not be acted upon by the Assembly or may be rejected or ignored altogether.
Committees are integral parts for the conduct of Assembly business. An effective Committee system makes the Assembly to be more responsive to the needs of the electorate while making the role of the Members more relevant and the democratic process more representative of, and accountable to, the views of the electorate. Committees are important in at least the following ways: