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 her/his team of Executive Directors are responsible for the day-to-day running of the council.

West Sussex County Council
Chair of the Council
Cllr Janet Duncton, Conservative
since May 2019
Leader of the Council
Cllr Paul Marshall[1], Conservative
Chief Executive
Nathan Elvery
since 27 June 2018
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

The county elects 8 MPs, and is part of the South East England constituency which returns ten members to the European Parliament.

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.


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 councils

Parish councils

See List of civil parishes in West Sussex

The Council

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 Louise Goldsmith.[2]


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.[2]


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.[3]

    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. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-50045402
    2. "Council and Cabinet". West Sussex County Council.
    3. "Results Summary" (PDF). West Sussex County Council.
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