Democratic Services

About the Council

What Is a Council

Government in Great Britain is provided in two ways.

At a national level, the country is divided into 659 Parliamentary Constituencies and voters in each area elect a Member of Parliament to sit in the House of Commons and represent them. The Isle of Wight is currently represented by Bob Seely MP.

At a local level, the country is divided into a series of local authorities or councils and voters in each area elect people to sit on the council and represent them.

The Isle of Wight Council is made of 39 areas, which are known as wards.  38 return a single representative to the Council, and 1 (Brading, St Helens and Bembridge) returns 2 representatives. Those elected make up the Members of the Council and are therefore often known as Members as well as Councillors.

The people who stand for election as Councillors may belong to one of the national political parties or to a local political party, or they may be completely independent of a political party.

The new council (4th May 2017) has 40 elected councillors. The current political make-up is detailed below:

  • 25 The Conservative Group;
  • 8 The Island Independents Group;
  • 2 Liberal Democrat Group;
  • 2 Others;
  • 1 Independent Green;
  • 1 Independent Labour;
  • 1 Labour. 

If more than half of the people on a council belong to a particular political party, that party is referred to as the majority party and its leader or its nominated representative is known as the Leader of the Council.

If none of the political parties has an overall majority, the Council is known as a hung council and the Leader is usually, but not always, nominated by party with the largest number of Members.

How The Council Works

The Isle of Wight Council provides a very wide range of services for the public and many of these are extremely difficult and complex. Because of this, the Council can also look complex and difficult to understand and this can be particularly frustrating when what you need appears to be simple and straight forward.

The easiest way to think about the Council is to divide it up into two parts, the Councillors’ bit and the Officers’ bit.

The Councillors’ Bit

The Councillors are your elected local representatives and it is their job to make sure that the services that the Council provides meet your needs and those of everybody else who lives and works on the island.

The Councillors do this by setting the overall policies and strategies for the Council and by monitoring the way in which these are implemented. In principle therefore, you should talk to your councillor if:

  • You want to influence the future development of the island.
  • You want to influence specific things going on in your area.
  • You have a problem that you just cannot get solved by officers.

At its meeting on 19 March 2014 the Council adopted a new Code of Conduct for Councillors.  The Code of Conduct is contained within the Council’s Constitution. (PDF, 1MB, 236 pages).

The Officers’ Bit

The Officers are the people who work for the Council and who are paid to deliver the services agreed by Councillors.

Senior officers help Councillors to develop policies and objectives but their main role is to provide the public with the highest possible standards of service within the money that the Councillors make available.

In principle therefore, you should talk to Council Officers if:

  • You have a problem and need help.
  • You want to know what to do next.
  • Nothing seems to be happening and you want to know why.

 

The Service Structure

The Isle of Wight Council provides a very wide range of services for the public.

You do not need to know how the organisation is structured in order to get the services that you want, but it may be helpful for you to know how things work at times.

Corporate Management Team

The Corporate Management Team is made up of the Chief Executive, Directors and Heads of Service and usually meets weekly to oversee the management of the organisation. The team is responsible for ensuring that the way in which services are provided is 'joined-up' and makes sense as a whole.

Heads of Service

Heads of Service are the people who report directly to the Chief Executive or Directors and are responsible for running individual services within the Council.

If you have problems getting the services that you want from the council, or if you make a complaint, the Head of Service responsible for the area involved will normally be responsible for dealing with the matter for you.

Services Provided

View the online A-Z list of services that the Isle of Wight Council provides.

Further Information

If you would like further information about how the organisation works or who you need to speak to, please contact our Contact Centre

Telephone: 01983 821000

Email: customer.services@iow.gov.uk

Customer Services Department
County Hall
Newport
Isle of Wight
PO30 1UD