Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council is the local government body responsible for the governance of the City of Birmingham in England, which has been a metropolitan district since 1974. It is the most populated local council in the United Kingdom (excluding counties) with, following a reorganisation of boundaries in June 2004, 120 Birmingham City councillors representing over one million people, in 40 wards.[1] This means that Birmingham is technically the largest city in the United Kingdom. The council headquarters are at the Council House in the city centre. The council is responsible for running nearly all local services, with the exception of those run by joint boards. The provision of certain services has in recent years been devolved to several council constituencies,[2] which each have a constituency committee made up of councillors from that district.

Birmingham City Council
Council logo post-2016
Founded1 April 1974 (1974-04-01)
Preceded by
  • Birmingham City Council (County Borough of Birmingham)
  • Sutton Coldfield Borough Council
Cllr Mohammed Azim, Labour
since 21 May 2019
Leader of the council
Cllr Ian Ward, Labour
since 11 September 2017
Chief Executive
Clive Heaphy
since 3 April 2018
Seats101 councillors
Political groups
     Labour (67)
Other parties
     Conservative (25)
     Liberal Democrat (8)
     Green (1)
Joint committees
West Midlands Combined Authority
Last election
  • 2014 (one third of councillors)
  • 2015 (one third of councillors)
  • 2016 (one third of councillors)
  • 2018 (all councillors)
Next election
  • 2022 (all councillors)
Meeting place
Council House, Birmingham


The original Charter of Incorporation, dated 31 October 1838, was received in Birmingham on 1 November, then read in the Town Hall on 5 November with elections for the first Town Council being held on 26 December. Sixteen Aldermen and 48 Councillors were elected and the Borough was divided into 13 wards. William Scholefield became the first Mayor and William Redfern was appointed as Town Clerk.

It was not until 14 January 1889 that another Charter conferred the rank of City on Birmingham. On 9 November 1891, the districts of Balsall Heath, Harborne, Saltley and Little Bromwich were absorbed into the City. The dignity of a Lord Mayor was conferred in 1896 and Sir James Smith Kt was appointed as the City's first Lord Mayor on 3 June 1896. The parish of Quinton became part of Birmingham on 9 November 1909 and two years later, under what was termed 'The Greater Birmingham Scheme', the Boroughs of Aston Manor, the Urban District of Handsworth and of Erdington, part of the Urban District of Kings Norton and Northfield and the Rural District of Yardley were all incorporated. Such was the expansion involved that the Council Chamber, originally designed to accommodate 80 members, had to be modified to seat the representatives of the new wards. Further additions occurred on 1 April 1928 (part of the Urban District of Perry Barr) and 1 April 1931 (parts of the Parishes of Solihull, Castle Bromwich, Minworth and Sheldon). By 1972, there were 39 Wards each represented by an Alderman and 3 Councillors, a total of 156 Members.

A major national re-organisation of local government was implemented in 1974 and saw the City of Birmingham being combined with the Borough of Sutton Coldfield to form the new Birmingham District Council consisting of 42 Wards each with 3 elected Councillors (in 1982 the number of Wards was reduced to 39). On 1 July 1986, the title was changed to Birmingham City Council. Part of Bromsgrove District known as Frankley and Kitwell Estates were added to the City on 1 April 1995. A review of the Ward boundaries on 10 June 2004 resulted in an increase from 39 Wards to 40 Wards.[3]


The first woman elected to the council, on 1 November 1911, was Ellen Pinsent.[4] She represented the Edgbaston Ward as a Liberal Unionist.[4] She had earlier been co-opted as a member of the council's Education Committee and served as Chairman of the Special School Sub-Committee.[4] She stood down from the council in October 1913 upon appointment as Commissioner for the Board of Control for Lunacy and Mental Deficiency.[4]

Pinsent's time on the council overlapped with that of Margaret Frances Pugh, who was elected on 22 November 1911 to serve the in North Erdington ward.[4] She resigned in November 1913.[4]

Birmingham's third woman councillor, Clara Martineau, was elected on 14 October 1913 in the Edgbaston ward, and served until 1932, when she died, aged 57.[4] Her father was former Mayor Sir Thomas Martineau, Lord Mayor Ernest Martineau was her brother, and Alderman Sir George Kenrick was her uncle.[4]

Mary E. Cottrell became the first female Labour councillor in February 1917, when she was elected unopposed to the Selly Oak ward.

The first female Lord Mayor, Marjorie Brown, held the post from 1973 to 1974. Theresa Stewart became the first female leader in October 1993,[5] until 1999; and Lin Homer the first chief executive, was in post from 2002 until 2005.

Political control

The council was run by a Labour administration between 1984 and 2004, with Sir Dick Knowles as Council Leader from 1984 to 1993, followed in turn by Theresa Stewart, and Sir Albert Bore. They lost overall control in 2003 but continued to run the council as a minority administration for the following year. At the election of 10 June 2004, the 121 seats were divided between the Labour, (53 councillors), Conservative (39) and Liberal Democrat (28) parties. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups then formed a governing coalition, moving Labour into opposition.

In 2005, Richard Mawrey QC (as an election commissioner) ruled invalid Birmingham City Council elections in two wards, Aston and Bordesley Green, held the year before, and required re-votes. He blamed most of the electoral fraud on absentee ballot manipulation, and implicated the returning officer and six Labour councillors. By-elections and defections in 2005 altered the distribution of seats within the council with Labour holding 46 seats, Conservatives holding 40, Liberal Democrats holding 30, the People's Justice Party holding 2 and independent councillors holding a further 2.

In 2006, the People's Justice Party disbanded, with their two councillors joining the Liberal Democrats, and Councillor Ann Holtom defected from Labour to the Liberal Democrats. In the 2006 local elections the British National Party initially gained a seat, but it soon transpired their candidate's election had been caused by a counting error and the result was subsequently overturned in favour of the previously third-placed Labour party candidate following an election petition.[6]

After the local elections on 1 May 2008, there remained no overall control, with the 120 seats divided between Conservative (49 councillors), Labour, (36), Liberal Democrat (32) and Respect (3).[7] After the 2010 elections the seats were divided between Conservative (45 councillors), Labour, (41), Liberal Democrat (31) and Respect (3).[7] The Conservatives' main local strongholds are in the Sutton Coldfield and Edgbaston constituencies. In the local elections on 5 May 2011, Labour won an extra 14 seats on the council but there continued to be no overall control, with the seats divided between Conservative (39 councillors), Labour, (55), Liberal Democrat (24) and Respect (3).[7]

Labour regained overall control in May 2012.[8] Following the 2018 council election, Labour has continued to hold control of the council.

Affiliation Members[9]
Labour 67
Conservative 25
Liberal Democrats 8
Green 1
Total number of seats 101
Actual majority 16

Wards and Councillors

Following the boundary review, the number of wards was increased from 40 to 69.[10][1]

Each ward is represented by either one or two councillors.

Ward Councillor Party Council Service
Acocks Green Roger Harmer Liberal Democrats 1995-2001, 2008-2012, 2014-
John O'Shea Labour 2012-
Allens Cross Eddie Freeman Conservative 2008-2012, 2018-
Alum Rock Mohammed Idrees Labour 2002-
Mariam Khan Labour 2012-
Aston Muhammad Afzal Labour 1982-
Nagina Kauser Labour 2012-
Balsall Heath West Zhor Malik Labour 2018-
Bartley Green Bruce Lines Conservative 2003-
John Lines Conservative 1982-
Billesley Phil Davies Labour 2012-
Lucy Seymour-Smith Labour 2018-
Birchfield Mahmood Hussain Labour 1996-
Bordesley and Highgate Yvonne Mosquito Labour 1996-
Bordesley Green Chauhdry Rashid Labour 1987-1999, 2004-
Bournbrook and Selly Park Brigid Jones Labour 2011-
Karen McCarthy Labour 2012-
Bournville and Cotteridge Liz Clements Labour 2017-
Fred Grindrod Labour 2018-
Brandwood & King's Heath Mike Leddy Labour 1995-2003, 2007-
Lisa Trickett Labour 2012-
Bromford and Hodge Hill Diane Donaldson Labour 2016-
Majidd Mahmoob Labour 2011-
Castle Vale Suzanne Webb Conservative 2018-
Druids Heath and Monyhull Julien Pritchard Green 2018-
Edgbaston Deirdre Alden Conservative 1999-
Matt Bennett Conservative 2008-2012, 2015-
Erdington Robert Alden Conservative 2006-
Gareth Moore Conservative 2011-
Frankley Great Park Simon Morrall Conservative 2018-
Garretts Green Saddak Miah Labour 2018-
Glebe Farm and Tile Cross Marj Bridle Labour 1986-
John Cotton Labour 1999-2008, 2010-
Gravelly Hill Mick Brown Labour 2012-
Hall Green North Akhlaq Ahmed Labour Co-op 2018-
Lou Robson Labour 2018-
Hall Green South Timothy Huxtable Conservative 2002-
Handsworth Hendrina Quinnen Labour 2009-
Handsworth Wood Gurdial Singh Atwal Labour 2004-
Narinder Kaur Kooner Labour 2006-
Harborne Peter Fowler Conservative 2018-
Jayne Francis Labour 2016-
Heartlands Shafique Shah Labour 2005-
Highter's Heath Adam Higgs Conservative 2018-
Holyhead Paulette Hamilton Labour 2004-
King's Norton North Alex Aitken Labour 2018-
King's Norton South Peter Griffiths Labour 2011-
Kingstanding Gary Sambrook Conservative 2014-
Ron Storer Conservative 2014-
Ladywood Albert Bore Labour 1980-
Kath Hartley Labour 1996-2000, 2002-
Longbridge and West Heath Debbie Clancy Conservative 2015-
Brett O'Reilly Labour 2012-
Lozells Waseem Zaffar Labour 2011-
Moseley Kerry Jenkins Labour 2014-
Martin Straker-Welds Labour 2011-
Nechells Tahir Ali Labour 1999-
Newtown Ziaul Islam Labour 2006-
North Edgbaston Carl Rice Labour 1987-
Sharon Thompson Labour 2014-
Northfield Olly Armstrong Labour 2018-
Oscott Barbara Dring Labour 2004-
Keith Linnecor Labour 1996-
Perry Barr Jon Hunt Liberal Democrats 2003
Morriam Jan Liberal Democrats 2017-
Perry Commmon Bob Beauchamp Conservative 2008-
Pype Hayes Mike Sharpe Labour 1988-1992, 2001-
Quinton Kate Booth Labour 2016-
John Clancy Labour 2002-2006, 2011-
Rubery and Rednal Adrian Delaney Conservative 2004-2015, 2018-
Shard End Ian Ward Labour 1995-
Sheldon Paul Tilsley Liberal Democrats 1968-1982, 1988-
Mike Ward Liberal Democrats 1991-
Small Heath Safia Akhtar Labour 2018-
Zaheer Khan Labour 2018-
Soho and Jewellery Quarter Chaman Lal Labour 1994-
Sybil Spence Labour 1986-
South Yardley Zaker Choudhry Liberal Democrats 2006-2010, 2014-
Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath East Mohammed Azim Labour 2004-2006, 2012-
Shabrana Hussain Labour 2016-
Sparkhill Nicky Brennan Labour 2018-
Mohammed Fazal Labour 1987-1995, 2002-
Stirchley Mary Locke Labour 2016-
Stockland Green Penny Holbrook Labour 2003-2008, 2010-
Josh Jones Labour 2012-
Sutton Four Oaks Maureen Cornish Conservative 2007-
Sutton Mere Green Meirion Jenkins Conservative 2012-
Sutton Reddicap Charlotte Hodivala Conservative 2018-
Sutton Roughley Ewan Mackey Conservative 2014-
Sutton Trinity David Pears Conservative 1987-1991, 1992-1996, 2004-
Sutton Vesey Rob Pocock Labour 2012-
Kath Scott Labour 2018-
Sutton Warmley and Minworth David Barrie Conservative 2009-
Ken Wood Conservative 2008-2012, 2014-
Sutton Wylde Green Alex Yip Conservative 2015-
Tyseley and Hay Mills Zafar Iqbal Labour 2012-
Ward End Mohammed Aikhlaq Labour 2010-
Weoley and Selly Oak Tristan Chatfield Labour 2012-
Julie Johnson Labour 2016-
Yardley East Neil Eustace Liberal Democrats 1986-
Yardley West and Stechford Baber Baz Liberal Democrats 2018-

Council constituencies

From 5 April 2004, responsibility and budgets for a number of services were devolved to 11 district committees, as part of a growing trend in the UK to use area committees for large councils. From 1 June 2006 the districts were reduced from 11 to 10 to correspond with the revised Westminster constituency boundaries, and renamed "council constituencies". Each now comprises four wards. The council constituencies are:[2] As of 2018 these districts no longer serve as a devolved function.

Chief executives

Past chief executives have included:

  • 1994 (1994)  2001 (2001): Sir Michael Lyons
  • 2002 (2002)  2005 (2005): Lin Homer
  • 2005 (2005)  2014 (2014): Stephen Hughes[11]
  • 2014 (2014)  2017 (2017): Mark Rogers[12]
  • 2017 (2017): Angela Probert (acting)[13]
  • 2017 (2017)  2018: Stella Manzie (interim)[13][14]
  • 2018 (2018)  2019 (2019): Dawn Baxendale[15]
  • 2019- Clive Heaphy (Interim)

Services and facilities

Notable services provided and facilities managed by Birmingham City Council include:

Service Birmingham, set up in 2006, is a joint IT venture operated by Birmingham City Council and Capita under which Capita runs the city's ICT systems and council tax collection services and formerly ran its call centre. The Council and Capita have agreed to end the joint venture by March 2018.[16]

The city's museums were transferred to the independent Birmingham Museums Trust in 2012. The council sold its Ogwen Cottage Outdoor Pursuits Centre, by auction, in October 2014.

See also


  1. "Birmingham City Council: Wards". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  2. "Birmingham City Council: Constituencies". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
  3. "History of the Council". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  4. Roberts, Sian (4 March 2015). "'My whole time is given to the service of my fellow citizens' – the first women elected to Birmingham City Council". Library of Birmingham. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  5. "Women's Local Government Society". Women's Local Government Society. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  6. Walker, Jonathan (27 July 2006). "BNP never won seat on city council". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  7. Birmingham City Council election service
  8. Robinson, Nick (4 May 2012). "Labour are back throughout country, says Ed Miliband". Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  9. "Current State of the Parties". Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  10. Council, Birmingham City. "Local Government Boundary Review". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  11. K, Sarah (20 December 2013). "New Chief Executive appointed". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  12. "Chief executive of Birmingham City Council Mark Rogers leaves role". BBC Online. 19 February 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  13. Kirby, Sarah (20 March 2017). "Birmingham to name Stella Manzie as Interim Chief Executive". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  14. Ndikon, Uchenna. "Management structure". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  15. "Management structure". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  16. Digital by Default News, Council to wind up joint IT venture, 19 May 2017, accessed 30 May 2017
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