Oxfordshire County Council
Chair of the council
Cllr Les Sibley
since May 2019
Leader of the Council
Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Conservative
since April 2012
since 10 July 2018
Length of term
|First past the post|
|4 May 2017|
|6 May 2021|
|Sapere aude (Dare to be wise)|
|County Hall, New Road, Oxford|
Oxfordshire County Council, established in 1889, is the county council, or upper-tier local authority, for the non-metropolitan county of Oxfordshire, in the South East of England, an elected body responsible for the most strategic local government services in the county.
County Councils were first introduced in England and Wales with full powers from 22 September 1889 as a result of the Local Government Act 1888, taking over administrative functions until then carried out by the unelected Quarter Sessions. The areas they covered were termed administrative counties and were not in all cases identical to the traditional shire counties, but in Oxfordshire the whole 'ceremonial county' came under the authority of the new council. The new system of local democracy was a significant development and reflected the increasing range of functions carried out by local government in late Victorian Britain.
The first elections to the new county council were held in January 1889. At the first meeting, several aldermen were elected.
Schools (both primary and secondary) were added to the County Council's responsibilities in 1902, and until the 1990s it was also responsible for operating Colleges of Further Education.
Oxfordshire County Council has seen a changing pattern of lower-tier authorities existing alongside it within its area, responsible for more local services, such as housing and waste collection. Until 1974, the county had a large number of urban district and rural district councils. In 1974, local government was reorganized in England and Wales generally, and Oxfordshire was enlarged to take in areas previously in Berkshire. Within its new area dozens of former urban and rural districts were amalgamated into one city council, that of Oxford, and four district councils: Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, the Vale of White Horse, and West Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire County Council provides a wide range of services, including education (schools, libraries and youth services), social services, public health ,highway maintenance, waste disposal, emergency planning, consumer protection and town and country planning for matters to do with minerals, waste, highways and education. This makes it one of the largest employers in Oxfordshire, with an annual budget of £899 million in 2013-14.
Since 1889, members have been elected for a term of office, with elections held all together (initially every three years, later every four years) on the "first past the post" system. Until the 1970s, the elected members chose aldermen, whose term of office was for six years, and who once appointed were also voting members of the council. This form of membership was ended by the Local Government Act 1972, so that after 1974 only honorary (that is, non-voting) aldermen could be appointed.
As of December 2017, the council composition is as follows:
The council currently consists of sixty-three county councillors and no party has overall control. The Conservative Party has thirty-one members, with fourteen Labour, thirteen Liberal Democrats, four Independents and one Henley Residents Group member.
|Party||Seats||Gains||Losses||Net gain/loss||Seats %||Votes %||Votes||+/-|
|Henley Residents Group||1||1||0||+1||6.4||0.9||1,747||+1.1|
The next election will be held on 6 May 2021.
|1985||No overall control|
|1989||No overall control|
|1993||No overall control|
|1997||No overall control|
|2001||No overall control|
|2013||No overall control|
|2017||No overall control|