Manchester City Council is made up of 96 elected councillors.
There are 32 wards, from Higher Blackley in the the north to Woodhouse Park in the south. Each ward has three councillors. Councillors stand in elections, held in May of three years out of four. The winner of the election gets a four-year term as a councillor. At the moment the political make-up of the council is 93 Labour councillors and 3 Liberal Democrats.
Councillors get roughly 15 thousand pounds a year, but minimal expenses.
Ten of the Councillors are part of the Executive, which is a bit like the “Cabinet” at the UK level. There’s a leader, and two deputy leaders. There are seven executive members, each with specific portfolios. The 7 exec members are on a total of about 35 thousand each, for what is in theory a 4 day week.
A Councillor can only serve one four year term in an executive role, then comes off the executive and can try to get back on in a different portfolio after a year off (that doesn’t apply to the leader or deputy leaders).
There are two kinds of committees, regulatory (for things like planning, licencing and the like) and also scrutiny.
There are six scrutiny committees, which are supposed to keep tabs on what the Executive and officers are doing – are they formulating and implementing good policies for Manchester.
The six scrutiny committees are
- Equality and Communities
- Young People and Children
- Neighbourhoods and Environment
- Resources and Governance.
Scrutiny committees vary in size. There is a chair whose job it is to keep everything moving in decent nick. (These are “meetings in public”, not public meetings. Members of the public can watch, but if they want to speak or ask questions, they need to ask the chair before the meeting starts). If there are commercial decisions deemed sensitive, the public and media are excluded.
Each scrutiny committees meets, in public, ten times a year. Each meeting is two hours long and will look at various policies. The six scrutiny committees’ meetings are all held during one week (e.g. Tuesday – Thurs at either 10am or 2pm), and are usually (but not always) held in the Town Hall extension .
All the above mentioned roles are for people who stand in elections. There is ALSO a set of bureaucrats (civil servants) known as offices. There is a strategic management team, made up now of seven senior officers. There are officers in different departments. Since 2010, Manchester City Council’s enumber of employees has been forced down from 10,000 to 6,000.