Council structure

Lancaster City Council is made up of 60 democratically elected councillors (also known as elected members).

Councillors are responsible for taking decisions about the provision of important public services such as planning, housing, waste and recycling, street cleaning, leisure and culture.

(For more information on what the council does and doesn't do, see what does the council do?)

Political makeup of the council

Lancaster City Council is currently under no overall control, meaning that no single political group achieves a majority of seats.

Council (as of June 2021)

Group Seats
Labour 16
Conservative 11
Green 10
Independent Group 5
Eco-Socialist Independents 4
Lib Dem 2
Non-aligned Independent 1
Vacant seats 2

Whipping policy

Whipping ensures that members of a particular political party (a) vote, and (b) vote in accordance with the party's wishes

Group whipping policies

Group Council Cabinet Overview and scrutiny Regulatory committees
Labour The whip will be used apart from agreement on free votes No whip No whip No whip
Morecambe Bay Independents No whip - No whip No whip
Conservative No whip - No whip No whip
Green No whip No whip No whip No whip
Liberal Democrats No whip - No whip No whip
Independent No whip - No whip No whip
Eco-Socialist Independents No whip - No whip No whip


All councillors meet together as 'Council' (also known as 'Full Council'). Here councillors approve the constitution and main policies and set the annual budget. Meetings of Council are normally open to the public, except where personal or confidential matters are being discussed.

Council elects the Leader and agrees the representation on council committees.

Cabinet and decision making

Cabinet (also known as the Executive) is the part of the council responsible for most day-to-day decision making.

Cabinet meetings are open to the public, although part of the meeting may have to be held in private if there are confidential items to be discussed. If any part of a Cabinet meeting is going to be held in private, a notice of intention to conduct business in private is always published in advance.

Cabinet agendas (listing what is to be discussed at forthcoming meetings) are published at least seven days in advance of the meeting date.

Cabinet decisions are monitored by a cross-party committee called the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has the power to 'call-in' decisions made by Cabinet, and can refer such decisions to Full Council if they are considered to be in contravention of budget or policy frameworks.

Some decisions as a matter of law may not be taken by Cabinet, including planning and licensing decisions. The council has regulatory committees to deal with these - the Planning Regulatory Committee and the Licensing Committee.

Cabinet members each have responsibility for a specific area of council business (also known as being a 'portfolio holder').

Cabinet members and portfolio holders

Cabinet member Role and Portfolio
Councillor Caroline Jackson Leader
Councillor Kevin Frea Deputy Leader with Climate Action portfolio
Councillor Dave Brookes Environmental Services
Councillor Gina Dowding Strategic Planning and Place Making
Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox Sustainable Economic Prosperity
Councillor Tricia Heath Economic Recovery
Councillor Erica Lewis Corporate Services
Councillor Cary Matthews Housing
Councillor Sandra Thornberry Arts, Culture, Leisure and Wellbeing
Councillor Anne Whitehead Finance and Resources

Council officers

The council employs staff to give advice, implement its decisions and manage the day-to-day delivery of council services. Council employees are known as 'officers' and they are led by the chief executive.

Chief executive

  • Chief Executive - Kieran Keane

Chief officers

  • Director for Communities and the Environment - Mark Davies
  • Deputy Director for Communities and the Environment - Suzanne Lodge
  • Director for Corporate Services - Sarah Davies
  • Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration - Jason Syers

Statutory officers

  • Section 151 officer - Paul Thompson
  • Monitoring officer - Luke Gorst

Organisational structure

Officer pay scales

As a publicly funded organisation the council is committed to openness and transparency on how it spends tax-payers’ money and publishes details of its pay scales for senior officers.

Corporate plan

The corporate plan provides details of the council's corporate priorities, how these will be achieved and how achievement will be measured.

Council expenditure

Details of all council expenditure over £500 are publicly available. The data includes payments to suppliers for goods and services, grant payments and payments to other public bodies. For data protection reasons some personal data is excluded from the information published.

Last updated: 26 November 2021