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Political structure

Political structure

North Devon Council has 43 elected councillors.

The state of the parties is:
  • Conservative: 18 councillors
  • Liberal Democrats: 14 councillors
  • New Wave Independent Group: 3 councillors
  • Independent Group: 5 Councillors
  • North Devon First Group: 3 councillors
The council is controlled by a coalition between the Liberal Democrats and independent councillors.

The council has adopted a political management structure, based on a leader and cabinet system which together is known as the "Executive" the roles of the councillors.


The Executive is the strategic decision making body of the council. It has far reaching functions and responsibilities including leading the community planning process, responsibility for the preparation of the Corporate Plan, preparation of the policy framework and budget of the council and it carries out all functions which are not the responsibility of any other part of the council.

The Leader of the council is the "Chairman" of the Executive. The Executive has eight members with all members having responsibility for overarching strategic development (portfolios).

Councillor B. Greenslade - Lead Member Policy and Resources and  Lead Member for Regulatory Policy and Services

Councillor R. Cann – Lead Member Environment

Councillor M. Edmunds – Lead Member for Strategic Planning and Lead Member for Ilfracombe Development

Councillor Mrs Gubb – Lead Member for Community

Councillor Mrs Manuel – Lead Member for Performance and Procedures

Councillor M. Prowse – Lead Member for Economic Regeneration

Councillor D. Spear – Lead Member for Culture

Councillor Mrs Webber – Lead Member for Housing


The council meets approximately seven times a year.

Council is the forum where the Executive reports to all councillors. At each meeting of council the Executive Leader and each Executive Member with a portfolio will report on their work programme and actions to their fellow councillors. The chairmen of the area committees, the Licensing committee, the Overview and Scrutiny committee and the Standards committee will also be reporting on their actions since the last meeting of the council.

Council meetings are open to the public and you may address council on any issue relevant to North Devon.

Chairman of Council - Councillor M. Wilkinson

Vice-Chairman of Council - Councillor Brian Hockin

Overview and Scrutiny committee

The government has said that if we have an Executive, with far reaching decision making powers, then we must have at least one overview and scrutiny committee.

The Overview And Scrutiny committee:
  1. will review or scrutinise decisions made by the Executive and other committees
  2. can make reports to council on the preparation and implementation of a programme of policy reviews, consider and report on any area of policy development or review
  3. will review and scrutinise the performance of the council in relation to its policy objectives, performance targets and particular service areas.

The committee will be comprised of community councillors – this means that a member of the Executive cannot also be a member of Overview And Scrutiny committee.

Ethics Committee

It is important that the public and organisations in our District have confidence in local democracy, and in those of our community who have been elected or appointed to serve on our local Councils.

In this regard the District Council and all Parish and Town Councils in the area, have adopted a Code of Conduct setting out how Councillors should behave.

Our Councillors are expected to live up to high standards of behaviour and demonstrating that they do so underpins public confidence in local democracy.

The Ethics Committee has a statutory responsibility for promoting high standards in local Councillors which it does through training and assisting Councillors in their understanding of the Code of Conduct and Principles of Standards in Public Life.

The Council’s Monitoring Officer works with the Ethics Committee and, along with the Ethics Committee, has the responsibility for investigating and deciding on allegations that a Councillor’s behaviour may have breached the Code of Conduct.  If a breach is found, the remedy will vary depending on the circumstances but could include a censure or a request to undergo training or issue an apology.

The Committee is made up of seven Councillors and two non-voting representatives from Parish Councils.  One other important aspect of the ethical framework in the area is the Independent Person.  This is a person appointed by the Council to give a view on any complaints before a final decision is taken.  The appointed person is completely independent from the Council and is selected after a public advertisement.

There are links below to the following: -

If you wish to make a complaint or have any concerns regarding the behaviour of a Councillor, please contact Mr Ken Miles,  Monitoring Officer, North Devon Council, Civic Centre, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 1EA

Licensing committee

The Licensing committee is responsible for undertaking the licensing and regulatory functions of the council, determining applications (except those that are delegated to officers) and to hear appeals against any decision. The committee has appointed sub-committees that have delegated powers to hear appeals and determine applications. The sub-committees meet on a rota basis.

Planning committee

The Planning committee considers and determines any matters arising under the planning acts which the Planning Manager refers to it, applications which are deemed as major planning applications, applications which in the opinion of the Planning Manager is appropriate for determination by the committee to avoid a conflict with planning regulations or applications which for reasons of transparency cannot be determined by the Planning Manager under delegated powers. The committee has appointed three site inspection sub-committees (A, B and C) which report their views of the sites to the Planning committee.

The Planning committee is open to the public and, with the consent of the Chairman, you may address the committee on a planning application which is listed on the agenda for consideration at a meeting.

Personnel committee

The role of the Personnel committee is to consider personnel issues relating to staff of the council and to consider and make recommendations to the council on the policy and procedures for the recruitment and retention of staff.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee's role is key in ensuring the council continues to be run in a proper manner. It provides independent assurance of the adequacy of the council's risk management processes and oversees the financial reporting process. It also gives an independent review of the council's financial and non-financial performance to the extent that it affects the council's exposure to risk and weakens the control environment.

This involves a close working relationship with the council's statutory officers, especially the Chief Financial Officer, and with the external and internal auditors.

Procedures Committee

The Procedures Committee's main task is to ensure that the council's constitution is kept up to date. In addition to any other matters referred to it by council, the Executive or the Leader makes recommendations to council on a number of other procedural matters such as the appointment of Aldermen, and the training of councillors.

If you would like to know more about NDC's committees, please contact us. Further details regarding the roles and functions of the Executive and the above committees can be found in the Constitution.

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