Kent County Council

Kent County Council is a county council that governs most of the county of Kent in England. It is the upper tier of elected local government, below which are 12 district councils, and around 300 town and parish councils. The county council has 81 elected councillors. The chief executive and chief officers are responsible for the day-to-day running of the council. Roger Gough is the leader of the council as of October 2019. Kent County Council is currently controlled by the Conservative Party with 61 seats. The Labour Party have 7 seats. 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]

Kent County Council
Arms of Kent County Council.svg
Coat of arms
Council logo
Chair of the Council
Lesley Game,
since 10 February 2022
Roger Gough,
since 17 October 2019
Corporate director (Head of paid service)
David Cockburn
Seats81 councillors
Council composition comprises 80 councillors, broken-up as: 62 conservative, 7 Labour, 6 Liberal Democrat, 4 Green, 1 Association, and 1 Independent.
Political groups
  Conservative (62)
Other parties
  Labour (7)
  Liberal Democrat (6)
  Green Party (4)
  Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents Association (1)
  Swale Independents (1)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
May 2025
Meeting place
County Hall Maidstone 001.jpg
County Hall, Maidstone

In November 2022, the county council stated it, alongside Hampshire County Council, may face bankruptcy within 12 months due to austerity cuts.[1]


The council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety and waste disposal.[2]


Kent Top Travel[3] was owned by Kent County Council, and was established by them in 2005. It operated the council's bus network.[4] It was argued that its existence stimulated competition. It also operated a coach charter fleet. The majority of Kent Top Travel's route portfolio comprised rural, evening and Sunday services won under competitive tender from Kent County Council and other local authorities in open competition with private bus operators. Kent Top Travel operated Canterbury City Council's park & ride service from October 2008 until 2013.[5][6] Kent Top Travel operated both single and double deck buses as well as charter coaches. Buses were painted in a white and green livery, the Canterbury park & ride fleet silver and green. Coaches were painted both white & red, and yellow.

Following an independent report criticising Kent County Council's trading companies, in December 2012 it was decided to close Kent Top Travel once its existing contracts expired.[4][7][8] Kent Top Travel ceased trading on 1 October 2013.[9]

District councilsEdit

Council structureEdit

The Council is structured as follows:[10]

County Council

The County Council is made up of 81 elected county councillors. 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 councillors. 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 councillor is required to be a member of one local board.

The work of the Council is organized into directorates:

Strategic and Corporate Services

supports the work of the directorates by providing specialist expertise and strategic direction. The department also leads and co-ordinates major change and organisational development.: It manages services that include Human Resources, Finance, Governance, Law and Democracy, Strategic Commissioning, Property and Infrastructure, Information Technology, Media and Communications, Consultation and Engagement, Customer Relations including Gateways and Contact Centre, Business Intelligence and Policy.

Children, Young People and Education

It combines Education services with universal and targeted services for children and young people designed to reduce demand for specialist services, also provided in this directorate. By focusing on prevention and early intervention, their aim is to reduce demand in specialist children's social services by helping families earlier, improving parenting skills and the health and educational outcomes of young children, ensuring they are school ready. KCC will intervene earlier to support families in crisis through area based working and joined up teams providing a more seamless service and better working arrangements with partner organisations.: 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.[11][12]

Adult Social Care and Health

works with people who need care and support, providing Adult Social Care Services and Public Health Services.[13]

Growth, Environment and Transport

This includes strategic responsibility for the future of the county in terms of planning, economic development, transport policy, and major transport improvement schemes, waste disposal and recycling services. In addition to a range of leisure and cultural facilities including the Turner Contemporary; country parks; libraries; and enforcement services including trading standards and community safety.[14]

Elections and the democratic processEdit

The most recent Kent County Council elections were held in 2021.


In 1889, the Local Government Act 1888 created an administrative county of Kent, with its own county council. The area of the administrative county was closely aligned with the area of the historic county. The main variations were that the northwestern extremities of the historic county came under the newly created administrative County of London, and 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 county council adopted the Old Sessions House as its meeting place.[15]

In 1965, the London Government Act 1963 abolished the existing county of London and replaced it with a new administrative county called Greater London. Greater London covered even more of the northwestern of the historic Kent. In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972 abolished the previous structure of local government in England, except for Greater London. A new non-metropolitan county of Kent was created that was divided into districts, including a new City of Canterbury, which combined the former county borough with other areas to form a single district.

In 1998 the districts of Gillingham and Rochester-upon-Medway were removed from the control of the county council to come under the control of a new unitary authority, Medway Council.

Joint arrangements with MedwayEdit

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.


Section 28Edit

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")[16] and create their own version to keep the effect of the now repealed law in their schools.[17] This was replaced with provisions stating that heterosexual marriage and family relationships are the only firm foundations for society on 16 December 2004.[18]

Credit crunchEdit

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.[19] A 2009 report by the Audit Commission claimed KCC was negligent by continued investment in Icelandic banks after being informed not to do so. KCC is now threatening the Audit Commission with legal action.[20]

Investment in the tobacco industryEdit

In August 2011 it was revealed that Kent Council had around £24m of its pension fund for employees invested in the tobacco industry.[21] 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.[22]

Pension fundEdit

Its pension fund has been affected by issues arising at Woodford Investment Management's fund, as it has had about a £263m investment in one of their main equity vehicles. Due to the issues it has been working to withdraw its investment.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ With a population of 1,463,700 at the 2011 census, Kent is the largest non-metropolitan county in a two tier arrangement.


  1. ^ Harris, Mary (14 November 2022). "Leader warns Kent County Council could face bankruptcy in a year". KentLive. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  2. ^ Executive summary
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 5242900 Kent Top Temps Limited
  4. ^ a b Kent takes axe to council bus operation Buses 13 January 2013
  5. ^ Park & Ride Contract Canterbury City Council
  6. ^ Kent Top Travel takes on Canterbury park Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine Bus & Coach Professional 24 October 2008
  7. ^ End of road for Kent County Council bus company Kent Top Travel KentOnline 13 December 2012
  8. ^ Kent County Council to abandon Kent Top Travel Coach & Bus Week issue 1092 19 June 2013 page 5
  9. ^ Thank you for visiting the Kent Top Travel website Kent Top Travel 18 August 2013
  10. ^ Council structure
  11. ^ "Kent Youth County Council". Archived from the original on 6 September 2008. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  12. ^ Porn and Sex » Archived 1 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine. (24 March 2013). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  13. ^ "ASCH Directorate Business Plan 2017-18" (PDF). 5 April 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Kent Leadership | Kent County Council - Structure of KCC". Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  15. ^ Historic England. "The Old Sessions House, Maistone (1086392)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  16. ^ Local Government Act 1988 (c. 9) Archived 22 November 2005 at the Wayback Machine, section 28. Accessed 1 July 2006 on
  17. ^ Action Network U523407 (2003). "Homophobic Section 28 is scrapped at last - except in Kent!". Action Network BBC. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012.
  18. ^ Gay Times - Kent's Section 28 U-turn - Queer Youth - Report as the Queer Youth Alliance claims victory in Kent when Kent County Council finally scrapped its anti-gay 'Section...
  19. ^ "Councils 'not reckless with cash'". BBC News. 10 October 2008. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ "Kent council criticised over £24m in tobacco shares". 22 August 2011. Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  22. ^ political editor Paul Francis (23 August 2011). "KCC defends decision to invest in tobacco firms". Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)
  23. ^ The Economist (6 June 2019). "Woodford, felled". No. 9143. UK: The Economist. p. 30. Archived from the original on 9 June 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.

External linksEdit