Change from cabinet to committee system

Council governance structure

We are currently exploring a different way of governance for the council after councillors elected in May 2023 agreed to change from a leader and cabinet decision process to a committee system.

How is the council run now and why is it changing?

The current system is a cabinet system led by a leader. The leader is elected by full council for a term determined by the council or on a four yearly basis and will usually be the leader of the largest party on the council.

The cabinet members are councillors overlooking different service areas of the council and are chosen by the leader.

As required under the Local Government Act 2000 there is also at least one overview and scrutiny committee.

At a meeting of full council on 21 June 2023 councillors agreed to step away from the cabinet structure and to set up a Constitution Working Group to establish a committee system for making decisions.

What is a committee system?

Under this system councils are divided into politically balanced committees to make decisions under powers delegated by the full council. This means that minority groups and independent members are also part of the decision-making process and no individual member of the council has decision making powers.

The number of committees and the areas of responsibility will be among the governance issues being discussed by the working group.

The position of leader and deputy leader remain in the committee system.

What is the Constitution Working Group?

This group is advised by legal experts and council officers and will agree the steps to be taken prior to the change to a committee system.

The group members are the leaders of political groups on the council – Cllr Jim Martin (Green), Cllr Tim Prater (Lib Dem), Cllr Connor McConville (Labour), Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee (Conservative) and Cllr Paul Thomas (Independent).

The group is to meet monthly and the meetings can be viewed online on the dates listed at the bottom of this page.

The group will make recommendations about a committee structure and it is anticipated that the final decision will be made by full council in January 2024.

Minutes of the meetings can be found at Browse meetings - Constitution Working Group | Folkestone & Hythe District Council (

How will the new system work?

There are several different ways that local authorities which have a committee structure operate. Some have just two or three main committees and others have more.

Consideration will also need to be given to how the corporate work plan will be accommodated in the new structure as well as the process of financial monitoring, including audit.

Further updates will be provided on this page.

When will the change come into effect?

The change to the governance system is due to be made in May 2024

A public notice announcing the change published in accordance with regulation 9KC, Part 1A, Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 (as amended). (Published in August 2023)

Dates for Constitution Working Group meetings

  • Tuesday 24 October at 10am
  • Wednesday 15 November at 3pm
  • Monday 18 December at 11am
  • Thursday 25 January at 12 noon
  • Thursday 22 February at 10am
  • Tuesday 26 March at 1pm