The council is run by councillors who are elected by the local community. Councillors are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the local community about:
Each councillor represents a specific area and serves for a period of four years. The work of a councillor includes:
Councillors are not paid a salary or wage, but are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out their public duties. All councillors abide by a code of conduct, part of which requires them to declare any financial interests, gifts or hospitality that could influence any decisions they make.
The leader of the council is currently Cllr James Swindlehurst. The post of the leader is elected by all members of the council at annual council meetings. The leader chairs all meetings of the council’s cabinet and leads on policy development and implementation.
The cabinet is an executive group responsible for the overall business of the council. The cabinet comprises of:
Each of the members of the cabinet has a defined portfolio of responsibilities:
The decisions of the cabinet are subject to scrutiny by a different group of councillors, who meet in overview and scrutiny panels to check and monitor what the cabinet does.
Whilst the elected councillors provide the policies, the paid employees - council officers, put them into practice. The council employs about 1,400 staff (not including school teachers) who are responsible for a wide range of services that benefit the local community.
The net annual budget of the council is around £97 million.
The senior management team manages the activities of the council staff and advises councillors on the potential implications of political decisions.
By law, senior council staff are not allowed to take part in any party political activity and are expected to advise and assist all councillors irrespective of their political affiliation.