County Council structure

The political make-up of the County Council and what it and the Cabinet are responsible for.

Political composition

The County Council is made up of 70 councillors (sometimes called members) who are each elected every four years to represent one electoral division. The County Council is controlled by the Conservatives and the political composition is:

  • Conservative: 47
  • Liberal Democrat: 11
  • Labour: 8
  • Green and Independent Alliance: 3
  • Vacancy: 1

To view details of your local councillor, you can search by name or postcode and a graphic showing overall political composition is also available below.

Functions are allocated across the full County Council itself, the Cabinet and a range of committees. Many functions are delegated from the Cabinet and committees to officers.

The Constitution explains how the County Council operates and decisions are made, and the procedures which are followed to make sure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people. A full list of all the committees is available in our councillor information library.

Full Council

All members meet together as the full Council and they are responsible for deciding some of the overall policies and setting the budget each year.

The meetings are the principal forum for political debate. The Council elects the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, members of committees and a Leader.

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the County Council are appointed annually by the full Council at a public meeting.

  • Chairman of the County Council: Pete Bradbury is the apolitical guardian of the interests of all members of the County Council and its processes, as well as being its principal non-political representative.
  • Vice-Chairman: Sujan Wickremaratchi assists the Chairman.

Read more about the role of the Chairman (PDF, 50KB).


The West Sussex Cabinet (the 'Executive') has ten members selected from the Conservative majority. The Cabinet proposes the key policy decisions of the County Council, which are subject to agreement by the full County Council. Each member is allocated a portfolio of work for which they take personal responsibility. Most decisions will be made by cabinet members individually.

Scrutiny committees

Five scrutiny committees have been set up to provide an independent check on the way the County Council provides its services. Members are drawn from all political parties. The Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee provides independent monitoring of health services activities in West Sussex.

Statutory committees

Many of the County Council's powers and duties are not 'executive' functions and so may not be carried out by the Cabinet or cabinet members. In order to undertake those powers and duties, the County Council has delegated them to non-executive statutory committees. The non-executive committees are:

  • Planning and Rights of Way Committee
  • Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee (deals with audit, accounts and regulatory functions)
  • Pension Advisory Board of the West Sussex Pension Fund
  • Pensions Committee
  • West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Local Pension Board
  • Standards Committee (promotes and maintains high standards of conduct by members of the County Council and assists members to observe the Code of Conduct)
  • Governance Committee (keeps the County Council’s governance arrangements and the Constitution under review, oversees the effectiveness of the political structure, deals with elections and local government boundary changes and oversees arrangements for the appointment of directors and determines the terms and conditions of all staff).

Outside bodies

The County Council also appoints members to represent it on other organisations which are known as 'outside bodies', and has joint arrangements with a number of boards and partnerships.


We employ officers to give advice to all parts of the County Council, implement decisions and undertake the day-to-day planning and management of the wide range of functions undertaken.

Last updated:
26 May 2022
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