Democratic Structure of the Council

Devon County Council operates with a Cabinet, which is the key decision making body and is the part of the Council responsible for most day-to-day decisions. It is made up of a Leader and no more than nine other members (Cabinet Members), all appointed by the County Council from amongst its membership. Each of these Cabinet Members takes a lead responsibility for a particular area of work, such as Economy and Employment, Highways and Transportation, Adult social care, or Children’s Health and Wellbeing.

The current Leader is Councillor John Hart, Leader of the Conservatives.

The Cabinet meets regularly (at least once a month) in public at County Hall, Exeter. Their meetings are broadcast via the internet, and members of the public and other elected members can attend and put questions direct to the Cabinet.

The agenda for their meeting is published online and in paper format so forthcoming discussions and decisions can be seen.  The Council also publishes a forward plan, which gives advance notice of matters to be discussed at Cabinet.

council meeting

The Full Council meets five times per year and continues to be body responsible for setting Devon’s policy framework, budget and council tax.

Four influential Scrutiny Committees keep a close check on the work of the Cabinet. These cover Corporate Services, People’s (including education, care for the elderly and disabled, child protection and youth services) Place (including libraries, roads, transport, recycling centres and waste disposal) and Health & Wellbeing.

These all-party committees operate like Parliamentary Select Committees and can examine decisions of the Cabinet and/or Cabinet Members in more depth, investigate key issues of public concern, and recommend action to the Cabinet and the Council.

A number of other committees report directly to the Full Council. These cover statutory or quasi-judicial functions such as Development Control, Public Rights of Way, and Appeals. Please see our Committee Structure Diagram.

The Chairman of the Council is a non-executive position and the holder fulfils an ambassadorial role on behalf of the County Council. This position changes each year.

Details of all meetings, committee agendas and minutes are published on the Devon County Council website.