About Herefordshire Council
Herefordshire Council was established in April 1998 and took over the responsibilities of South Herefordshire District Council, Hereford City Council and Hereford-Worcester County Council and some of Leominster District Council and Malvern Hills District Council.
Herefordshire Council's ambitions are set out in full in our county plan. They focus on the key areas of environment, community and economy and are to:
- Protect and enhance our environment and keep Herefordshire a great place to live
- Strengthen communities to ensure everyone lives well and safely together
- Support an economy which builds on the county’s strengths and resources
Herefordshire Council operates a leader and cabinet model of governance. The council's 53 members meet together as full Council to set the policy framework, agree the budget and spending plans, set the Council Tax, elect the leader of the council and make constitutional decisions. It is also a forum for debate on major issues affecting the council and the county. Once elected, the leader of the council appoints and chairs the cabinet, sometimes called the executive. Each cabinet member has a specific area of responsibility, called a portfolio.
The different service areas or activities the council is responsible for are called functions and the law determines whether decisions about a function are the responsibility of full Council (or one of its committees), an individual officer, or of the executive. The council's employees, often called officers, are responsible for delivering the council's policies and for the day-to-day operation of the organisation. Officers have a duty to support the whole council, are not accountable to individual councillors or to the political group in control of the council and must remain politically neutral.
All major councils are required by law to prepare and keep an up to date constitution. The constitution explains and regulates 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.
There is a code within the constitution which governs member and officer working relationships and this provides the framework for members to promote equality, and respect the impartiality and integrity of employees.
Decision making takes place at a wide range of levels across the council. The constitution defines the various roles of officers and members. Broadly:
- Council (all 53 members) approves the constitution, the budget and the main policies and priorities for the council. It delegates much of its day to day decision-making (such as planning and licensing) to a number of committees, or to officers
- Cabinet (the executive) is responsible for all decisions which the law, or Council, does not require to be taken by others, and agrees policies and actions to implement the budget and policies set by Council
- Officers take decisions in order to put agreed policies and strategies into effect and to deliver services efficiently
- Overview and scrutiny scrutinises decisions and advises the cabinet and Council
Herefordshire Council is comprised of 53 councillors. The political composition of the council is:
- Conservatives - 13
- Herefordshire Independents - 12
- It's Our County (Herefordshire) - 8
- Liberal Democrats - 7
- The Green Party - 7
- True Independents - 5
- Ungrouped - 1
Total - 53
Other political representatives
Herefordshire has two parliamentary constituencies:
There are seven MEPs that represent Herefordshire as part of the West Midlands region in the European Parliament.