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 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 is the Liberal Democrats with 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
Coat of arms
Council logo
Chair of the Council
Cllr Ann Allen MBE, Conservative
Leader of the Council
Cllr Paul Carter CBE, Conservative
since 12 October 2005
Corporate director (Head of paid service)
David Cockburn
Seats81 councillors
Political groups
     Conservative (67)
Other parties
     Liberal Democrat (7)
     Labour (5)
     Green Party (1)
     Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents Association (1)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
4 May 2017
Next election
4 May 2021
Meeting place
County Hall, Maidstone


The council is responsible for public services such as education, transport, strategic planning, emergency services, social services, public safety and waste disposal.[1]

District councils

Council structure

The Council is structured as follows:[2]

County Council

The County Council is made up of 84 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 departments and divisions:

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 & Procurement, Governance and Law, 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
aim for Kent to be the best place for children and young people to grow up, learn, develop and achieve. 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.[3][4]
Adult Social Care and Health
works with people who need care and support, providing Adult Social Care Services and Public Health Services for the people of Kent. They work with people to understand their personal needs and by, helping them to build on their strengths and abilities wherever possible. The aim is to promote people’s independence and wellbeing and help to achieve outcomes that are important to them. Within this core purpose, The directorate's top priority to discharge our statutory safeguarding responsibilities for adults, working with our key partner organisations.[5]
Growth, Environment and Transport
comprises a range of key frontline, strategic, policy and commercial functions, and plays a major role in making Kent a better place to live, work and visit. The services provided, and the future the directorate helps to shape, affects every household in Kent. 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.[6]

Elections and the democratic process

The most recent Kent County Council elections were held in 2017.[7] 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 County Council adopted the Old Sessions House as its meeting place.[8]

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 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.

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.

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.


Section 28

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")[9] and create their own version to keep the effect of the now repealed law in their schools.[10] This was replaced with provisions stating that heterosexual marriage and family relationships are the only firm foundations for society on 16 December 2004.[11]

Credit crunch

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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

Pension fund

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.[16]

See also


  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. Executive summary
  2. Council structure
  3. "Kent Youth County Council". Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  4. Porn and Sex ». (24 March 2013). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  5. "ASCH Directorate Business Plan 2017-18" (PDF). 5 April 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  6. "Kent Leadership | Kent County Council - Structure of KCC". Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  7. "Kent County Council elections". Kent County Council. Wayback Machine: Kent Gov UK. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  8. Historic England. "The Old Sessions House, Maistone (1086392)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  9. Local Government Act 1988 (c. 9), section 28. Accessed 1 July 2006 on
  10. 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.
  11. 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...
  12. "Councils 'not reckless with cash'". BBC News. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  13. "Kent council criticised over £24m in tobacco shares". 22 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  14. political editor Paul Francis (23 August 2011). "KCC defends decision to invest in tobacco firms". Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  15. The Economist (6 June 2019). "Woodford, felled" (9143). UK: The Economist. p. 30. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
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