West Sussex County Council

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is the authority that governs the non-metropolitan county of West Sussex. The county also contains 7 district and borough councils, and 159 town, parish and neighbourhood councils. The county council has 70 elected councillors. The Chief Executive and their team of Executive Directors are responsible for the day-to-day running of the council.

West Sussex County Council
Arms of the West Sussex County Council.svg
Chair of the Council
Cllr Janet Duncton, Conservative
since May 2019
Leader of the Council
Cllr Paul Marshall[1], Conservative
Seats70 councillors
Political groups
     Conservative (56)
Other parties
     Liberal Democrat (9)
     Labour (5)
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
4 May 2017
Next election
Meeting place
County Hall, Chichester (geograph 4025876).jpg
County Hall, Chichester

The county elects 8 members of parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[2]

West Sussex County Council is currently controlled by the Conservative Party.


The Local Government Act 1888 created the administrative county of West Sussex, with its own county council, from the three western rapes of the ancient county of Sussex, that is the rapes of Chichester, Arundel and Bramber. With the exception of the three county boroughs of Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne, the three eastern rapes of Lewes, Pevensey and Hastings came under the control of East Sussex County Council. Until 1898 it existed alongside the Urban and Rural Sanitary Districts, when these were abolished in favour of a new network or urban and rural districts.

The Local Government Act 1972 abolished the previous structure of local government in England and Wales. At this time West Sussex became a non-metropolitan county, divided into districts. This act created the two-tier system of government that exists in West Sussex to this day.

Political controlEdit

Paul Marshall (Conservative) has been leader of West Sussex County Council since 2019. He replaced Louise Goldsmith who had been leader since May 2010.[3][4]

West Sussex County Council since 1973
Years Political Control
1973 – 1993 Conservative
1993 – 1997 No Overall Control
1997present Conservative


The council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety, the fire service and waste disposal.

District councilsEdit

Parish councilsEdit

See List of civil parishes in West Sussex

The CouncilEdit

West Sussex County Council offices in Horsham

The whole County Council is the ultimate decision-making body and the principal forum for major political debate. Its 71 members meet six times a year. The County Council reserves to itself decisions on key policy plans, questions members of the Cabinet, debates major pieces of work by Select Committees and notices of motion.

It appoints the Leader who decides the composition and areas of competence of the Cabinet, to which responsibility is delegated for carrying out many of the County Council's existing policies. It also appoints the Select Committees which examine and review decisions and actions of the Cabinet and Cabinet Members, as well as some non-Executive committees and a Standards Committee. The current leader is Paul Marshall.


The West Sussex Cabinet has eight members selected from the Conservative majority. The Cabinet proposes the key policy decisions of the Council, which are subject to agreement by the full County Council of 71 members. Each member has a portfolio of work for which they take personal responsibility.


West Sussex County Council is divided into five directorates:

Adults & Children

Provides social care services to West Sussex children, young people, their families and communities; and services for older people and adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities or mental health needs.

Finance & Performance

Provides the following services: Business Change & Information Management, Capital & Asset Management, Finance, Internal Audit, Performance, Procurement & Market Development, Delivery Team.

Communities and Public Protection

Provides the following services: Community Services (Community Safety, Sustainable Development, Library Service, Record Office, Registration Service, Trading Standards), Fire & Rescue Service, Infrastructure (Environment & Heritage, Highways, Planning), Resources & Performance (Business Management, Communications, Major Projects) and Wastes Management.

Customer Services

Provides the following services: Customer Services, Operations Support Services, People Management, Resources & Performance.

Policy & Partnerships

Provides the following services: Communications, Democratic Services, Emergency Management, Legal Services, Policy & Partnerships (Arts Service, County Strategy, Europe Office, Local Area Agreements, Sustainability, Youth Cabinet).


County council elections took place on 2 May 2013. For detailed results for each electoral division see 2013 West Sussex County Council election.

West Sussex County Council election, 2013
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Conservative 46 13 16 -3 64.8
  UKIP 10 10 2 +8 14.1
  Liberal Democrats 8 1 11 -10 11.3
  Labour 6 4 1 +3 8.5
  Independent 1 1 0 +1 1.4
  Green 0 0 1 -1 0.0
  Socialist Labour 0 0 0 0 0.0
  BNP 0 0 0 0 0.0
  Patria 0 0 0 0 0.0
  Justice Party 0 0 0 0 0.0
  Peace 0 0 0 0 0.0

The most recent elections took place on 4 May 2017. Results are below.[5]

West Sussex County Council election, 2017
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Conservative 56 11 1 +10 80.0
  Liberal Democrats 9 1 0 +1 12.9
  Labour 5 0 1 -1 7.1
  UKIP 0 0 0 -10 0.0
  Independent 0 0 1 -1 0.0
  Green 0 0 0 0 0.0
  Other parties 0 0 0 0 0.0

Since the divisions had been slightly reorganised and there was one less division than previously the gains and losses are not strictly meaningful.


  1. ^ "West Sussex County Council names new leader as Paul Marshall". 14 October 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  2. ^ "MPs for West Sussex". West Sussex County Council. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  3. ^ "West Sussex County Council names new leader as Paul Marshall". BBC News. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Ms Louise Goldsmith". West Sussex County Council. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Results Summary" (PDF). West Sussex County Council.

External linksEdit