Kent County Council
|Kent County Council|
|Type||Non-metropolitan county council of Kent|
|Leader||Paul Carter, Conservative Party|
|Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents Association|
|Voting system||First past the post|
|Last election||4 June 2009|
|Next election||2 May 2013|
|County Hall, Maidstone|
Kent County Council (KCC) is the county council that governs the non-metropolitan county of Kent in England. It provides the upper tier of elected local government, below which are 12 district councils, and around 300 town and parish councils. The county council has 84 elected councillors. The chief executive and chief officers are responsible for the day-to-day running of the council. Paul Carter is the leader of the council. Kent County Council is currently controlled by the Conservative Party; and the official opposition are the UK Independence Party, taking 17 seats - the largest lump for UKIP in the United Kingdom local elections, 2013. It is one of the largest local authorities in England in terms of population served and the largest local authority of its type.[notes 1]
The council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety and waste disposal.
- Ashford Borough Council
- Canterbury City Council
- Dartford Borough Council
- Dover District Council
- Gravesham Borough Council
- Maidstone Borough Council
- Sevenoaks District Council
- Shepway District Council
- Swale Borough Council
- Thanet District Council
- Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
- Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
The Council is structured as follows:
- County Council
The County Council is made up of 84 elected county councilors. The full council meets seven times a year to agree the council's Constitution and amendments to it, appoint the Leader, and approve the policy framework and budget (including the level of Council Tax).
The cabinet is made up of ten county councilors. The cabinet is responsible for the strategic thinking and decisions that steer how the council is run. The cabinet meets monthly and take decisions collectively.
- Local Boards
Local boards are local community groups that hold regular public meetings across Kent so that the people of Kent to voice issues that affect their community. They also allocate funding to local projects. There are 12 local boards in Kent, and every county councilor is required to be a member of one local board.
The work of the Council is organized into departments and divisions.
- Business Strategy and Support
- This department is responsible for running the council. It manages personnel and development, finance, legal and democratic services, corporate policy and performance management, public health, information technology, communications, commercial services, and partnerships with other agencies. Also manages finance, value for money, external funding, audit and procurement under Finance and Procurement.
- Customer and Communities
- The role of this department is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to play active roles in their communities. It is organized into units for adult education, community safety, cultural development, emergency planning, libraries and archives, the Kent drug and alcohol team, Kent scientific services, Kent Volunteers, registration services (births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships), sports development, Kent Trading Standards, the Turner Contemporary, youth offending service, and youth services. This encompasses the Kent Youth County Council which provides the young people of the county to have a voice on the issues that matter to young people aged 11–18. Successes of the youth council include the introduction of the Kent Freedom Pass, which allows unlimited travel around Kent for a year at the cost of £100. The Youth County Council holds its elections every November, and four young people from each of the 12 districts are elected to a two-year term. The Kent Youth County Council is also affiliated with the UK Youth Parliament and British Youth Council.
- Education and Learning Skills
- provides education to Kent's children, young people, their families and communities.
- Families and Social Care
- provides social care services for Kent's children. Also provides services for older people and adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities or mental health needs.
- Enterprise and Environment
- Kent highway services, environment and waste, change and development, resources strategy and planning, regeneration and economy.
Elections and the democratic process
The most recent Kent County Council elections were held on 4 June 2009. See also Kent local elections, Ashford local elections, Canterbury local elections, Dartford local elections, Dover local elections, Tonbridge and Malling local elections
The Local Government Act 1888 created an administrative county of Kent, with its own county council, in 1889. At the same time the northwestern extremities of the historic county of Kent came under the County of London, while Canterbury became a separate county borough with powers similar to that of a county. The county council's duties at first were few, but gradually it absorbed school boards, the rural highway boards and the boards of guardians.
The London Government Act 1963 created an enlarged Greater London, established in 1965, which took in more of northwestern Kent. The Local Government Act 1972 abolished the previous structure of local government as from 1974. Kent became a non-metropolitan county, divided into districts, including a new City of Canterbury, which combined the former county borough (now abolished) with other areas to form a single district under the county council.
In September 2007, Kent County Council launched Kent TV, the first local authority funded internet-based community television channel. The channel is run by independent media company Ten Alps Digital, a subsidiary of Bob Geldof's production company Ten Alps PLC. Following economic cutbacks, it was announced in February 2010 that funding for Kent TV would be withdrawn by the county council, leading to closure. Other options for maintaining the service are currently under consideration.
KCC runs bus services through its subsidiary company, Kent Top Travel.
Joint arrangements with Medway
Kent County Council co-operates with the unitary Medway Council in many ways, for instance in the Kent and Medway Local Plan, and together they run joint agencies. Kent is combined with Medway for the purposes of representation in Parliament. The combined area elects 17 MPs, of whom 14 represent seats entirely within the Kent County Council area and another whose constituency is in both Kent and Medway. The combined area is also part of the South East region of the UK, which elects a total of ten members to the European Parliament.
The Conservative-run Kent County Council decided to ignore the government's decision to pass legislation to repeal Section 28 (An amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 that stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship") and create their own version to keep the effect of the now repealed law in their schools. This was replaced with provisions stating that heterosexual marriage and family relationships are the only firm foundations for society on 16 December 2004.
Kent County Council is one of a number of authorities that invested in the Icelandic banks that have since been taken over by the Icelandic Government as result of the Icelandic financial crisis. KCC invested a total of £50m of taxpayers money that could be at risk. A 2009 report by the Audit Commission claimed KCC of negligence in that it continued to invest in Icelandic banks after being told not to do so. KCC is now threatening the Audit Commission with legal action.
Investment in the tobacco industry
In August 2011 it was revealed that Kent Council had around £24m of its pension fund for employees invested in the tobacco industry. The authority has about £13.5m in the Altria Group; £3.6m in Philip Morris; £3.5m in Imperial Tobacco and £3.4m in Japan Tobacco.
The Council use the Grade II listed Old Sessions House designed by the Architect Sir Robert Smirke in 1824. It is now called County Hall. The council also uses the nearby Invicta House as well. The hall is also used by the Centre for Kentish Studies.
- With a population of 1,463,700 at the 2011 census, Kent is the largest non-metropolitan county in a two tier arrangement.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "Kent Youth County Council". Kent.gov.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- "Kent County Council: Local Elections". Kent County Council. Retrieved 2009-03-01.[dead link]
- Local Government Act 1988 (c. 9), section 28. Accessed 1 July 2006 on opsi.gov.uk.
- Action Network U523407 (2003). "Homophobic Section 28 is scrapped at last - except in Kent!". Action Network BBC.
- "Councils 'not reckless with cash'". BBC News. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- [dead link]
- "Kent council criticised over £24m in tobacco shares". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
- by political editor Paul Francis (2011-08-23). "KCC defends decision to invest in tobacco firms". Kentonline.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-09-12.