Councillors and council officers
The council is run by councillors, who are elected by the local community. Councillors are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the local community about local services and budgets, such as council tax. Each councillor represents a specific area and serves for a period of four years.
The work of a councillor includes:
- holding surgeries to help local people
- supporting local organisations
- campaigning on local issues
- developing links with all parts of the community
Councillors are not paid a salary or wages, but they are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out their public duties. All councillors abide by a code of conduct, part of which requires them to declare any financial interests, gifts or hospitality that could influence any decisions they make.
Find out more about your councillors.
The Leader of the council is Councillor Paul Bettison. The post of the Leader is elected by all members of the council at annual council meetings. The Leader chairs all meetings of the council’s Executive (see below) and leads on policy development and implementation.
The Executive is a group responsible for the overall business of the council. The Executive comprises the Leader of the council, who is the chairperson, and seven other members appointed by the Leader. Each of the members of the executive has a defined portfolio of responsibilities.
The decisions of the Executive are subject to scrutiny by a different group of councillors, who meet in overview and scrutiny committees and panels to check and monitor what the Executive does. The council has established six overview and scrutiny committees/panels:
- Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel
- Joint East Berkshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee
- Overview and Scrutiny Commission
Whilst the elected councillors provide the policies, paid employees (council officers) put them into practice. The council employs over 4000 staff; these include school teachers, social workers and staff responsible for a wide range of services benefitting the local community.
The Senior Management Team
The Senior Management Team is responsible for managing the activities of the council staff and for advising councillors on the potential implications of political decisions.
By law, senior council staff are not allowed to participate in any party political activity and are expected to advise and assist all councillors irrespective of their political affiliation.
The Chief Executive - Timothy Wheadon
The current Chief Executive was appointed in April 2003. The Chief Executive is the senior officer who leads and takes responsibility for the work of the paid staff of the council. The role of Chief Executive is a full time appointment. Post holders are selected on merit, against objective criteria, following public advertisement. They are appointed by the whole council.
As head of the paid service, the Chief Executive works closely with elected members to deliver:
Working with elected members to ensure strong and visible leadership and direction, encouraging and enabling managers to motivate and inspire their teams
Ensuring all staff understand and adhere to the strategic aims of the organisation and follow the direction set by the elected members
Acting as the principal policy adviser to the elected members of the council to lead the development of workable strategies which will deliver the political objectives set by the councillors
Leading and developing strong partnerships across the local community to achieve improved outcomes and better public services for local people
Overseeing financial and performance management, risk management, people management and change management within the council.
Find out more about the Chief Executive's Office.
There are 4 directors, each with separate accountabilities and responsibilities:
- Corporate Services - Alison Sanders
- Adult Social Care, Health and Housing - Gill Vickers
- Environment, Culture and Communities - Vincent Paliczka
- Children, Young People and Learning - Nikki Edwards
Senior staff salary information is published in accordance with the government's agenda to increase transparency and accountability in local government.