Leeds City Council

Leeds City Council
Third of council elected three years out of four

Council logo
Houses Unicameral
Term limits
Founded 1 April 1974
New session started
21 May 2015 (Municipal year 2015/2016)
Judith Blake, Labour
Since 21 May 2015
Judith Chapman
Since 21 May 2015
Seats 99 councillors
Joint committees
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
63 / 99
19 / 99
9 / 99
Morley Borough Independent
5 / 99
3 / 99
Multiple member first-past-the-post
Last election
7 May 2015
Next election
Meeting place
Leeds Civic Hall

Leeds City Council is the local authority of the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. It is a metropolitan district council, one of five in West Yorkshire and one of 36 in the metropolitan counties of England, and provides the majority of local government services in Leeds. Since 1 April 2014 it has been a constituent council of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.


Main article: Leeds local elections

The city council was established in 1974, with the first elections being held in advance in 1973. Under the Local Government Act 1972, the area of the County Borough of Leeds was combined with those of the Municipal Borough of Morley, the Municipal Borough of Pudsey, Aireborough Urban District, Horsforth Urban District, Otley Urban District, Garforth Urban District, Rothwell Urban District and parts of Tadcaster Rural District, Wetherby Rural District and Wharfedale Rural District from the West Riding. The new Leeds district was one of five metropolitan districts in West Yorkshire. It was granted a borough and city status to become the City of Leeds.

Until 1986 the city council was a second-tier authority, with West Yorkshire County Council providing many key services. However, the metropolitan county councils were abolished under the Local Government Act 1985 and the council took responsibility for all former County Council functions except policing, fire services and public transport which continue to be run on a joint basis by councillors from the former boroughs of West Yorkshire County Council.

Council services

Leeds City Council is responsible for providing all statutory local authority services in Leeds, except for those it provides jointly in conjunction with other West Yorkshire Authorities. This includes education, housing, planning, transport and highways, social services, libraries, leisure and recreation, waste collection, waste disposal, environmental health and revenue collection. The council is one of the largest employers in West Yorkshire, with around 33,000 employees.[1] By the Summer of 2016, Leeds City Council have plans to create the biggest skateboarding park in Europe. The location will be in hyde Park.

Education Leeds

Education Leeds was set up in 2001 as a non-profit making company wholly owned by Leeds City Council to provide education support services for the council.[2] For its first five years it operated as a public-private partnership between the Council and Capita. The senior councillors of the council's Executive Board voted in March 2010 to stop using Education Leeds to provide services from 31 March 2011,[3] thereby effectively causing it to cease operation.


Until 1 October 2013, Leeds City Council's housing stock was managed and operated by three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) since 2007. They were wholly owned by the Council but operated as autonomous and self-governing organisations. The ALMOs, which are arranged on a regional basis were:

As of 1 October 2013, the ALMOs returned to Leeds City Council and all management of Council housing stock became the responsibility of Housing Leeds. At this point, the ALMOs ceased to exist.

Management of more than 2000 homes in Belle Isle is carried out by Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation, the largest tenant management organisation in the UK outside London.[7]

West Yorkshire Joint Services

West Yorkshire Joint Services provides services for the five district local authorities in West Yorkshire (Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield) in the areas of archaeology, archives, ecology, materials testing, public analyst, and trading standards.[8]


In September 2012 the Council announced its intention to introduce a bring your own device policy as part of cost saving measures.[9]

Data protection

In 2012 the Council was fined £95,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after it sent confidential and sensitive information about a child in care to the wrong recipient. Commenting on Leeds and other authorities who had made similar data protection breaches, the ICO said "It would be far too easy to consider these breaches as simple human error. The reality is that they are caused by councils treating sensitive personal data in the same routine way they would deal with more general correspondence. Far too often in these cases, the councils do not appear to have acknowledged that the data they are handling is about real people, and often the more vulnerable members of society."[10]

Council structures


The council operates a Leader and Cabinet executive as defined under section 11 of the Local Government Act 2000. The Executive Board of the Council currently consists of eight executive members with portfolio responsibilities from the ruling Labour group, and the leaders the two biggest opposition groups (Conservative and Liberal Democrat).[11]

Leaders and control since 1974

Name Years Control
Irwin Bellow 1975 1976 No Overall Control
1969 1979 Conservative
Peter Sparling 1979 1980 No Overall Control
George Mudie 1980 1989 Labour
Jon Trickett 1989 1996
Brian Walker 1996 2003
Keith Wakefield 2003 2004
Andrew Carter (Joint Leader) 2004 2007 No Overall Control
Mark Harris (Joint Leader)
Andrew Carter (Joint Leader) 2007 2010
Richard Brett (Joint Leader)
Keith Wakefield 2010 2011
2011 2015 Labour
Judith Blake 2015 Present Labour

Judith Blake is the first woman to be leader of Leeds City Council.

Elected Mayor

On 3 May 2012 a referendum was held to determine whether or not to replace the current leadership arrangements with a directly elected mayor.

The question that was asked in the referendum was set by central government, and was:[12]

How would you like Leeds City Council to be run?
  • By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors. This is how the council is run now.
  • By a mayor who is elected by voters. This would be a change from how the council is run now.

The proposal for an elected mayor was opposed by the leaders of the four largest groups on the Council. It was supported by Leeds Conservative MPs Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) and Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell).

The referendum results showed a rejection of the proposal for a directly elected mayor, with 63% (107,910) voting to keep the status quo.[13]

Overview and scrutiny

The executive and workings of the council are overseen by six scrutiny boards. These panels involve councillors from all parties and some independent members. Scrutiny boards are able to review decisions taken by the executive or by officers of the council and to refer them for further consideration.


The licensing committee of the council is drawn from councillors from all parties and is responsible for entertainment, refreshment, personal and premises licences established under the Licensing Act 2003. Three plans panels are responsible for determining planning applications which have not been delegated to officers for decision, such as large or controversial applications or those in which a councillor or officer has a personal interest.

Community committees

Ten community committees are responsible for managing certain area-specific budgets and responsibilities, such as community centres and CCTV, in partnership with local communities. Committees also exert considerable influence over other areas of local interest such as street-cleansing and community policing.

Lord Mayor

Main article: Lord Mayor of Leeds

The Lord Mayor of Leeds is a ceremonial position elected annually by and from the councillors. As well as acting as the chair of the council, the Lord Mayor represents the City of Leeds at events within and outside the city. During the mayoralty period, the Lords Mayor's Charity Appeal raises funds for one or more charities of the mayor's choice.

The first Mayor of Leeds was Thomas Danby in 1661, and the first Lord Mayor was James Kitson in 1897.[14]


The local election boundaries for Leeds City Council which had been in use since 1979 were reviewed by the Boundary Committee for England between February 2002 and July 2003.[15] The review receommended the retention of 99 councillors representing 33 wards, but with substantial alterations to ward boundaries to reduce the level of variance between different wards. Prior to the boundary review, based on the 2001 electorate the largest and smallest wards respectively were Morley South (22,167 electors) and Hunslet (10,955 electors), whereas following the review all wards had an electorate within 10% of the average for the city.

The new boundaries were adopted in time for the local elections held in May 2004, where all seats were up for election. Following the review, the district was divided into the following 33 wards:[16]

  • Adel and Wharfedale
  • Alwoodley
  • Ardsley and Robin Hood
  • Armley
  • Beeston and Holbeck
  • Bramley and Stanningley
  • Burmantofts and Richmond Hill
  • Calverley and Farsley
  • Chapel Allerton
  • City and Hunslet
  • Cross Gates and Whinmoor
  • Farnley and Wortley
  • Garforth and Swillington
  • Gipton and Harehills
  • Guiseley and Rawdon
  • Harewood
  • Headingley
  • Horsforth
  • Hyde Park and Woodhouse
  • Killingbeck and Seacroft
  • Kippax and Methley
  • Kirkstall
  • Middleton Park
  • Moortown
  • Morley North
  • Morley South
  • Otley and Yeadon
  • Pudsey
  • Rothwell
  • Roundhay
  • Temple Newsam
  • Weetwood
  • Wetherby

Political composition

Main article: Leeds local elections

The council is composed of 99 councillors, three for each of the city's wards. Following the 2011 Local Elections, the Council is run by a Labour administration. Between 2004 and 2011 elections in resulted in no overall control. The council was run by a coalition of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats until 2010, latterly with support from the Morley Borough Independents. During this period the leaders of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats took turns to hold the office of Leader for six months. From 2010 to 2011 the council was run by a minority Labour administration with support from two Green Party councillors.[17] Since May 2011, the Council has been run by a majority Labour administration. It was under no overall control until 1976 when the Conservatives took control until 1979, when it returned to no overall control. From 1980 to 2004 it was under Labour control. Elections are usually by thirds: 2004 saw all seats up for election due to boundary changes.

Year Labour Liberal Democrats Conservative Others
2015 63 9 19 8
2014 63 9 18 9
2012 63 10 19 7
2011[18] 55 16 21 7
2010 48 21 22 8
2009[19] 42 23 23 10
2008[20] 43 24 22 10
2007[21] 43 24 22 10
2006[22] 40 26 24 9
2004 40 26 24 9
2003 52 22 20 5
2002 57 20 18 4
2000 61 19 16 3
1999 71 14 12 2
1998 80 9 9 1

See also


  1. "About Leeds: the facts and figures". Yorkshire Forward. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  2. "About Education Leeds". Education Leeds. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  3. "EXECUTIVE BOARD WEDNESDAY, 10TH MARCH, 2010". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  4. "About Us". East North East Homes. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  5. "About Us". West North West Homes. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  6. "About Us". Aire Valley Homes. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  7. "Belle Isle Tenant Management Organisation (BITMO)". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  8. "West Yorkshire Joint Services". Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  9. Bicknell, David (14 September 2012). "Leeds' amazing cash-slash plan: BYOD and that cloud thing". Government Computing. Progressive Digital Media Group. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  10. "ICO hits the road to crack 'underlying problem' at data-leak councils". The Register. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  11. "Executive Board". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  12. "Schedule 1, The Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums)(England) Regulations 2012". Legislation.gov.uk. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  13. Leeds votes no to elected mayor - Leeds City Council, 4 May 2012
  14. "Lord Mayors & Aldermen of Leeds since 1626" (pdf). Leeds City Council. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  15. "Leeds". Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  16. "Constituencies and Wards". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
  17. "New political leadership announced for Leeds City Council". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  18. "Leeds Local Election Results 2011". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  19. As at the end of 2009. No Leeds City Council elections were held in 2009, but changes are due to by elections and defections. One seat was vacant at the end of the year due to the death of Liberal Democrat Councillor Kabeer Hussain.
  20. "Leeds City Council Election Results - 1st May 2008". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  21. "Leeds City Council Election Results - 3rd May 2007". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  22. "Leeds City Council Election Results - 4th May 2006". Leeds City Council. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
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