What is Council and Democracy?

The District Council is a democratically elected body that provides a range of key public services such as environmental health, refuse collection, street cleansing, leisure facilities, parks and open spaces, and planning.

The District Council works in what is effectively a three tier system.  Above the District is Essex County Council, which is responsible for care services for the young and old, education, highways and transportation, refuse disposal, libraries, trading standards, minerals planning and the like.

Below the District are Town and Parish Councils.  In Rochford there are 14 of these.  They are responsible for some local open spaces, some lighting and bus shelters, small scale environmental schemes such as hanging baskets, some local community facilities, allotments, etc.

The Leader of the District Council is Councillor Terry Cutmore. As the most senior Councillor, Terry is Chairman of Executive meetings and is key to the Council's relationships with its partners. Terry is supported by a Deputy Leader, Councillor Mike Steptoe.

The Executive considers Council policy and the management of all Council services.  The Leader of the Council also heads the Conservative Councillors, which make up the largest political group represented on the Council. The main opposition group is the Green and Rochford District Residents, which is headed by Councillor John Mason.

The District Council also has a civic head, the Chairman of the Council, who presides over meetings of the whole Council and formally represents the Council at a variety of civic and community functions.  The Chairman of the Council is normally elected on an annual basis at the start of the Council year in May.  This year’s Chairman is Councillor Lesley Butcher.

Your Local Ward Councillor

The main role of local ward councillors is to represent the area covered by their ward and the people who live there. They provide a voice for and help to all members of the community and are involved in making decisions on behalf of residents and contributing to the Council's policies.

Councillors are not paid a salary or wages, but they are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out their public duties.  All Councillors abide by a code of conduct, part of which requires them to declare any financial interests, gifts or hospitality that could influence any decisions they make.

Speaking at Council or Committee Meetings

Members of the public can ask questions of Members of the Executive at ordinary meetings of the Council as long as they are delivered in writing or by electronic mail no later than midday 7 days before the day of the meeting.  Please contact Member Services using this form for more information

Arrangements are in place for the Public to speak at meetings of the Development Committee.  If you wish to speak at the Development Committee, please contact Member Services by 5.00 pm the day before the Committee in order to register to speak, or for more information.  

Alternatively, if you would like to see a copy of our leaflet “Speaking at the Development Committee – A guide for the public”  please see Related Content section.

Filming at Council meetings

Press and the public are permitted to film and digitally report from all public meetings of local government bodies.

If you wish to carry out any filming please see section 3 within our social media policy (in Related Content) for procedures that apply.