East Hampshire District Council is made up of 44 councillors elected every four years. Councillors are democratically accountable to the residents of their ward.
The overriding duty of councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.
All councillors meet together for full council meetings six times a year. These are held in public, and are used to decide the council's overall policies and set the budget each year.
Chairman of EHDC
The first council meeting of the year (held in May) is devoted largely to appointing the Council Chairman (currently Cllr David Ashcroft) and Vice Chairman (Cllr Lynn Evans) and agreeing membership of committees and council representatives on outside bodies.
The current political composition of the council is:
- Conservatives - 42
- Liberal Democrats - 2
How decisions are made
EHDC runs on a 'Leader and Cabinet' model. This works in the same way as the Prime Minister and Cabinet but on a local scale. The political party which has had the most councillors elected by the public forms the cabinet, and elects one of its members as the Leader.
This model was adopted in East Hampshire after the Local Government Act 2000. Following consultation with local people, 84% of respondents felt EHDC should introduce a Leader and Cabinet model, and it was adopted in June 2001.
The Cabinet makes collected policy decisions for the council. Each Cabinet Member is responsible for an area of the Council's work, known as portfolios. The current portfolio holders are:
- Cllr Ferris Cowper - Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance
- Cllr Richard Millard - Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Contracts
- Cllr Julie Butler - Customer Service
- Cllr Adam Carew - Environment
- Cllr Angela Glass - Planning and Affordable Housing
- Cllr Bill Mouland – Devolution PR and Communications
- Cllr Dean Phillips - Alton
- Cllr Guy Shepherd - Southern Parishes
- Cllr Ingrid Thomas – Welfare
- Cllr Glynis Watts – Economic Development
The Cabinet will be advised and supported in its policy formulation role by Panels with particular areas of responsibility and encompassing a broad range of opinion and expertise. In addition it is advised by a number of committees.
The Cabinet has to make decisions which are in line with the council's overall policies and budget. If it wishes to make a decision which is outside the budget or policy framework, this must be referred to the council as a whole to decide.
Cllr Alan Waterhouse - Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group
Cllr Sally Pond - Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group
Constitution of the council
The Constitution of the council sets out exactly how the council operates, how decisions are made and the procedures which are followed to ensure that these are efficient, transparent and accountable to local people.