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Local democracy

A brief outline of how Calderdale's workforce and Councillors work to improve Calderdale local services in Calderdale.

When people use the word "Council" they tend to mean one of two things:

  • The first is the body of 51 elected Councillors.
  • The second is the workforce employed to deliver and commission local services.

Below is a brief outline of how these two groups of people work to improve Calderdale.


Councillors are elected by the people in their ward to serve for four years, then there is another election. The role is demanding! They:

  • Represent local citizens.
  • Oversee Council compliance with the laws, regulations and statutory guidance set down by parliament and ministers.
  • Work within the framework of law to establish local policies for Council services.
  • Monitor how services are doing that are offered by private sector contractors and the Council.

Councillors work via four types of committee:

  • Full Council. This sets the local policies and the Council's budgets.
  • Cabinet. A group of seven Councillors charged with political oversight and making decisions. This is within the policies set down by the full Council of 51 members.
  • Four Scrutiny Panels or Boards. The largest number of Councillors sit on one or more of the panels. These look in detail at Council policies and practices and recommend changes to improve them.
  • Quasi-judicial committees. These deal with specific legal things for planning, licensing etc.

Membership of a political party is not required to be elected as a Councillor, but most are. This reflects the general picture of local authorities in this country.

For more about this or to find your local Councillor, see: Calderdale councillors.


The second group of people often referred to as the Council are its workforce, which I head. As most local authorities, it is made up of full-time, part-time and contract staff.

The workforce delivers or commissions the services you receive. In addition to my office there are five groups, each headed by a director. Within the budgets and policies set by Council/Cabinet, officers have delegated authority to progress the hundreds of service areas.

For more on this, see: Council departments.

How are we doing and how do we know?

The simple answer, from our practical experience, is that services are better today than they were in the past. Equally important, they will be even better in the future. Like all local authorities the Council is subject to external independent inspection by a range of agencies.

To find out more about our performance, external inspections and peer reviews, see: Priorities and performance.

As pleasing as these are, they are no grounds for being complacent. There are areas of service which need to be improved. Some of these are delivered directly by the Council and others through private companies. The Council is committed to improvement throughout.

Calderdale Council is responsible for a complex range of services. Although, we have lean management structures, when compared to similar Councils. We continue to develop our approach to value for money. We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We get things right most of the time, but things can go wrong. When they do we will try to put them right quickly.

I would like you to feel free to contact officers of the Council. They will be happy to help you with your enquiry. Also, your ward councillors are there to help you.

Our website has a lot of information about the Council. This is to help you to better understand how your Council works for your borough. I hope you find it helpful.

Robin Tuddenham (Chief Executive)

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