Lancashire County Council

Last updated

Lancashire County Council
Arms of Lancashire County Council.svg
Lancashire County Council.svg
Chair of the Council
Peter Britcliffe,
since 26 May 2022 [1]
Leader of the Council
Phillippa Williamson,
since 27 May 2021 [2]
Chief executive
Angie Ridgwell
Seats84 councillors
United Kingdom Lancashire County Council 2021.svg
Political groups
Administration (48)
  Conservative (48)
Other parties (36)
  Labour (32)
  Liberal Democrats (2)
  Green Party (2)
Length of term
3 years
First Past the Post
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
Meeting place
Preston County Hall 1.jpg
County Hall, Fishergate, Preston, PR1 8XJ

Lancashire County Council is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Lancashire, England. It consists of 84 councillors. Since the 2017 election, the council has been under Conservative control.


Prior to the 2009 Lancashire County Council election, the county had been under Labour control since 1989.

The leader of the council is Conservative councillor Phillippa Williamson, appointed in May 2021, chairing a cabinet of up to eight councillors. The Chief Executive and Director of Resources is Angie Ridgwell who was appointed in January 2018.


The council was established in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888, covering the administrative county. It was reconstituted under the Local Government Act 1972 with some significant changes to its territory. In 1998 Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool were both made unitary authorities, making them independent from the county council.

One Connect scandal

In May 2011 the council's Conservative administration established a partnership with BT Group called One Connect Limited. 40% was owned by the council and 60% by BT. 800 council staff were seconded to it. It was to run various back office functions and it was claimed it would save £400 million over ten years. In 2014 the partnership was dissolved, though some services were still run by BT. [3] A police investigation followed allegations of corrupt practices and fraud. In May 2017 Conservative councillor Geoff Driver, Phil Halsall, the council's former Chief Executive, David McElhinney, former chief executive of One Connect and its sister organisation Liverpool Connect – and Ged Fitzgerald the current Liverpool City Council chief executive and former Lancashire County Council chief executive were arrested “on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and witness intimidation.” As of September 2019 no one has been charged with any offences and it is estimated the Police cost is over £2m. [4]

Administrative organisation

There are two principal tiers of local government within the administrative county of Lancashire, with Lancashire County Council providing county level services and twelve district councils providing district level services. [5]

The prospect of dividing Lancashire into three unitary authorities under one combined authority is currently being discussed, which would see Lancashire County Council and the various district councils abolished. [6]

There are sixteen Parliamentary constituencies in Lancashire. The Conservative Party holds 11, the Labour Party holds four, and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, represents Chorley.


Elections are held every four years. At the 2021 election the Conservatives took 48 of the council's 84 seats, retaining the majority they had held since 2017. Labour took 32 seats, the Liberal Democrats 2 seats and the Greens 2 seats. The next election is scheduled to take place in 2025.

ElectionNumber of councillors elected by each political party
Conservative Labour Liberal Democrats Independent Green Party BNP UKIP Idle Toad
2021 4832202000 [7]
2017 463042101 [8] 0
2013 3539631000
2009 51161032101
2005 3144611001
2001 2744511000

Leader and cabinet

Lancashire County Council is led by the cabinet, which is chaired by the Leader of the Council, who is elected at the first full council meeting after an election. [9] The current leader of the council is Philippa Williamson, a member of the Conservative Party. [10] The leader appoints up to eight other cabinet members to serve in his or her cabinet.

Leader of the Council
Chair of the Cabinet
Conservative Party Phillippa WilliamsonLancaster Rural North
Deputy Leader of the Council
Deputy Chair of the Cabinet
Human Resources and Property
Conservative Party Alan VincentCleveleys South and Carleton
Community and Cultural Services Conservative Party Peter BuckleySt Annes North
Highways and Transport Conservative Party Charles EdwardsMorecambe South
Adult Social Care Conservative Party Graham GoochSouth Ribble West
Health and Wellbeing Conservative Party Michael GreenMoss Side and Farington
Education and Skills Conservative Party Jayne RearLeyland South
Economic Development and Growth Conservative Party Aidy RiggottEuxton, Buckshaw and Astley
Children and Families Conservative Party Cosima TowneleyBurnley Rural
Environment and Climate Change Conservative Party Shaun TurnerWyre Rural East



In July 2020, the county council announced that it wanted to replace itself and the 14 other councils that currently make up Lancashire's complex local government map with three standalone authorities. In September 2020 the county council submitted an outline plan to the government that outlines the proposed new unitary authorities and the areas they would cover. The new authorities would be, Central Lancashire (based on the footprints of Preston, Chorley, South Ribble and West Lancashire councils), North West Lancashire (Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Ribble Valley) and East Pennine Lancashire (Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Rossendale, Hyndburn and Pendle). These authorities would be governed by an elected mayor, with a combined authority. The major shake up to Lancashire's council structure is in a bid to gain more funding and power for the people of Lancashire. [12]

County Library

Lancashire adopted the Public Libraries Act, 1919, in 1924. Library services were slow to develop as the average ratable value of the area outside the county boroughs and the other local authorities which had already adopted the act was relatively low. In 1938/39 the average expenditure on urban libraries per head was 1s. 9d., but that on county libraries was only 8 1/4d. (about two fifths of the former amount). Another disadvantage was that government of libraries was by a libraries sub-committee of the education committee of the council (the librarian having to report to the education officer who might not have been sympathetic to libraries). The central administration of the county library is at Preston where there are special services, special collections and staff to maintain a union catalogue. [13]

Biological heritage sites

"Biological heritage sites" are, according to Lancashire County Council, "'local wildlife sites' in Lancashire...(that) are identified using a set of published guidelines." [14] The published guidelines dictate the necessary parameters in which a piece of land can be properly considered a "biological heritage site" by the "(Lancashire) County Council, Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside and Natural England." [14] [15]

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  1. "Council minutes, 26 May 2022" (PDF). Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  2. "Council minutes, 27 May 2021" (PDF). Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  3. "Lancashire County Council to scrap One Connect Limited". Lancashire Post. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  4. "Four leading council figures arrested". Lancashire Post. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  5. "Local Authority Profiles". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  6. "Lancashire councils face abolition in shake-up". BBC . Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  7. "May 2021 Election Results". Lancashire County Council. Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  8. "Lancashire County Council: Elections".
  9. "Constitution of Lancashire County Council" (PDF). Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  10. "Election results 2021: Lancashire County Council choose new Tory leader". BBC News. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  11. "Cabinet". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
  12. "This is why Lancashire County Council wants to scrap itself - and every other local authority in the area". Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  13. Cotton, G. B. (1971) "Public libraries in the North West"; North Western Newsletter; Manchester: Library Association (North Western Branch), no. 116: Libraries in the North West, pp. 5-24 (p. 8)
  14. 1 2 Council, Lancashire County. "Biological Heritage Sites". Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  15. [ bare URL PDF ]