Kirklees Council

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Kirklees Council
Founded1 April 1974
Cahal Burke,
Liberal Democrat
since 24 May 2023
Cathy Scott,
since 13 Sep 2023
Steve Mawson[1]
since 2017
Seats69 councillors
Political groups
Administration (35)
  Labour (35)
Other parties (34)
  Conservative (18)
  Liberal Democrats (8)
  Independent (5)
  Green (3)
Joint committees
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Multiple member first-past-the-post
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
2 May 2024
Meeting place
Town Hall, Ramsden Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TA

Kirklees Council is the local authority providing most local government services for the metropolitan borough of Kirklees in West Yorkshire, England. The council is one of five constituent members of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.[2]


Kirklees Council was established on 1 April 1974, when Kirklees and West Yorkshire were created under the Local Government Act 1972. The eleven former district councils within the area were abolished at the same time. [3][4] Kirklees was awarded borough status, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.[5]

The council was originally a district-level authority in a two-tier local government structure, alongside West Yorkshire County Council providing county-level services. However, the metropolitan county councils, including West Yorkshire County Council, were abolished in 1986 under the Local Government Act 1985. Since 1986 Kirklees Council has therefore been responsible for most local government functions in the borough.[6]

Policing, fire services and public transport continued to be run on a county-wide basis by councillors from all five West Yorkshire boroughs. In 2012 responsibility for policing was transferred to the directly-elected West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, and then to the Mayor of West Yorkshire in 2021.

The council has been a constituent member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority since 2014. The members of Kirklees Council elect one member of the combined authority.

Following several years of funding cuts from national government, in 2016 the council started transitioning to a different service model which the cabinet called being a New Council. The stated aim was to focus the reduced resources on services that only the council can provide, particularly those supporting vulnerable people, while encouraging communities to do more for themselves.[7]

After the 2016 local elections the council was temporarily run without an elected leader. Labour councillors initially decided to replace incumbent leader David Sheard with Shabir Pandor,[8][9][10] however Pandor's nomination to become leader at the council's AGM fell after Sheard and three other Labour councillors did not attend the meeting. With no leader, the council was run temporarily by the Chief Executive.[11][12] Sheard was eventually re-elected as leader and appointed Pandor as his deputy.[13] Pandor was subsequently elected leader of the council following the 2018 local elections.[14]

In June 2016 the Huddersfield Daily Examiner exposed several councillors who had failed to pay their Council Tax in what it called the 'Ratesgate scandal'. Five serving councillors, four Labour and one Conservative, had been issued with court claims after previously receiving reminder letters.[15] Two councillors who had denied the allegations, Deputy Leader Jean Calvert and Amanda Pinnock, were suspended by the Labour Party. All councillors subsequently paid their debts before facing the court.[16]

At the 2021 local elections Joshua Sheard became the youngest councillor to be elected to Kirklees Council, at the age of 19.[17]

In July 2023 Shabir Pandor resigned as council leader, reportedly before facing a vote of no confidence from Labour councillors. At the time Pandor was facing accusations from opposition councillors of misleading the council in his handling of Labour councillor Fazila Loonat, who had been convicted of perverting the course of justice.[18][19]

Failings in children's services[edit]

In late 2016 Ofsted inspected Kirklees Council's services for vulnerable children and judged them to be inadequate.[20] In response, Education Secretary Justine Greening appointed Eleanor Brazil as Children's Services Commissioner to make recommendations for improvement.[21]

In her report published following the 2017 general election, Ms Brazil found that Kirklees did not have the leadership or management capacity to achieve the required standard. She recommended that Kirklees enter a formal partnership with Leeds City Council, a good neighbouring local authority.[22] The Director of Children's Services in Leeds, Steve Walker, took overall responsibility for services in Kirklees.[23]

In June 2019 Ofsted conducted another inspection and found all aspects of children's services still required improvement to be good.[24]


Political control[edit]

The first election to the council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new arrangements came into effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[25][26]

Party in control Years
Labour 1974–1975
No overall control 1975–1976
Conservative 1976–1979
No overall control 1979–1980
Labour 1980–1986
No overall control 1986–1990
Labour 1990–1994
No overall control 1994–1995
Labour 1995–1999
No overall control 1999–2018
Labour 2018–2020
No overall control 2020–2022
Labour 2022–present


The role of Mayor of Kirklees is largely ceremonial. Political leadership is provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 2000 have been:[27]

Councillor Party From To
Kath Pinnock Liberal Democrats 2000 24 May 2006
Robert Light Conservative 24 May 2006 21 Jan 2009
Mehboob Khan Labour 21 Jan 2009 Feb 2014
David Sheard[28] Labour 26 Mar 2014 25 May 2016
Labour 29 Jun 2016 23 May 2018
Shabir Pandor[29][30] Labour 23 May 2018 26 Jul 2023
Cathy Scott Labour 13 Sep 2023


Following the 2023 election and subsequent by-elections and changes of allegiance up to February 2024, the composition of the council was:[31]

Party Councillors
Labour 35
Conservative 18
Liberal Democrats 8
Independent 5
Green 3
Total 69

The next election is due in May 2024.


The council generally meets at the Town Hall on Ramsden Street in Huddersfield, which had been built in 1881 for the old Huddersfield Borough Council.[32] The council's main offices are at the Civic Centre, a complex of buildings lying to the west of the town hall between Albion Street and Market Street. The council also maintains a customer service centre on Town Hall Way in Dewsbury.[33]


Since the last boundary changes in 2004, the council has comprised 69 councillors representing 23 wards. Elections are held three years out of four, with one third of the councillors (one for each ward) elected each time for a four-year term.[34]


Councillors appoint a mayor each year. The mayor represents the council at civic engagements and supports the work of their designated charity. They chair council meetings and are expected to be politically impartial whilst they hold the post, although they do get a casting vote in the event of a tie.

Mayors of Kirklees[35]
Name Party Civic Year
Reginald Hartley, JP Labour 1974–75
William Gregory Labour 1975–76
Andrew Alastair Mason Conservative 1976–77
Jack Brooke Conservative 1977–78
Major Charles Cyril Kenchington Independent 1978–79
Donald White Labour 1979–80
Marjorie Fisher Labour 1980–81
Fred Pickles, J Labour 1981–82
Jack Wood Labour 1982–83
Alfred Ramsden Labour 1983–84
Stanley Dawson Labour 1984–85
Colin C. Walker, JP Labour 1985–86
Mary Walsh Labour 1986–87
George Speight, JP Labour 1987–88
John Greaves Holt Conservative 1988–89
Colin Watson Labour 1989–90
Thomas Patrick O'Donovan Labour 1990–91
Jack Brooke Labour 1991–92
David A. Wright, JP Labour 1992–93
John Mernagh, JP Labour 1993–94
Harold Sheldon Labour 1994–95
Kenneth Douglas Sims Conservative 1995–96
Allison Harrison Labour 1996–97
Rita Briggs Labour 1997–98
Michael Bower Liberal Democrats 1998–99
Harry Fox Labour 1999–00
Ann Elspeth Denham Conservative 2000–01
Mohan Singh Sokhal, JP Labour 2001–02
Margaret R. Bates Conservative 2002–03
Barbara Allonby Liberal Democrats 2003–04
Mary Harkin Labour 2004–05
Margaret Fearnley Liberal Democrats 2005–06
Donald Firth Conservative 2006–07
Jean Calvert Labour 2007–08
Kamran Hussain Liberal Democrats 2008–09
Julie Stewart-Turner Green 2009–10
Andrew Palfreeman Conservative 2010–11
Eric Firth Labour 2011–12
David Ridgway Liberal Democrats 2012–13
Martyn Bolt Conservative 2013–14
Ken Smith Labour 2014–15
Paul Kane Labour 2015–16
Jim Dodds Conservative 2016–17
Christine Iredale Liberal Democrats 2017–18
Gwen Lowe Labour 2018–19
Mumtaz Hussain Labour 2019–21
Nigel Patrick Conservative 2021–22
Masood Ahmed Labour 2022–23
Cahal Burke Liberal Democrats 2023–present


  1. ^ Council, Kirklees (1 October 2023). "Chief Executive, strategic directors and service directors". Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  2. ^ "The West Yorkshire Combined Authority Order 2014". Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Local Government Act 1972",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70, retrieved 18 June 2023
  4. ^ "The Metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/137, retrieved 18 June 2023
  5. ^ "District Councils and Boroughs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 28 March 1974. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Local Government Act 1985",, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 18 June 2023
  7. ^ "Our new council". It's time to talk. 23 January 2017. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Kirklees Council leader Clr David Sheard announces shock departure". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. May 2016. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Toppled Kirklees Council leader David Sheard takes to Twitter to vent anger". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. May 2016. Archived from the original on 22 May 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Ousted Kirklees Council leader speaks out over Labour coup against him". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. May 2016. Archived from the original on 22 May 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  11. ^ "Put up or shut up!' Angry Kirklees Council leader-elect Shabir Pandor vows to fight on". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. May 2016. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Chaotic scenes as Kirklees Council struggles to find a new leader". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. May 2016. Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Re-elected Kirklees Council leader David Sheard adds new faces to his top team Angry Kirklees Council leader-elect Shabir Pandor vows to fight on". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. June 2016. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  14. ^ Earnshaw, Tony (23 May 2018). "New era for Kirklees Council as Shabir Pandor is elected leader". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Named: The Kirklees councillors summonsed over council tax arrears". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. June 2016. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Councillors suspended by the Labour party after council tax controversy". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. June 2016. Archived from the original on 7 June 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  17. ^ Earnshaw, Tony (16 May 2021). "The 19 year old biscuit factory worker now sitting on Kirklees Council". Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  18. ^ Marlow, Abigail (27 July 2023). "Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor was set to face vote of no confidence before shock resignation". Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  19. ^ Marlow, Abigail (14 July 2023). "Kirklees council leader urged to resign after allegations of 'wilfully misleading' the council". Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers and Review of the effectiveness of the Local Safeguarding Children Board" (PDF). Ofsted. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Statutory direction to Kirklees Council in relation to children's services under Section 497A(4B) of the Education Act 1996" (PDF). Department for Education. 25 November 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  22. ^ Brazil, Eleanor (14 September 2017). "Kirklees Children's Services: report to the Secretary of State" (PDF). Department for Education. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  23. ^ Shaw, Martin (15 September 2017). "MPs vow to hold Kirklees to account after Leeds City Council brought in to sort out failing children's services". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Kirklees Children's Services: Inspection of children's social care services". Ofsted. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  26. ^ "Previous Local elections summary". Kirklees Council. March 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Council minutes". Kirklees Council. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Sheard is re-elected as Kirklees Labour councillors put differences aside". Dewsbury Reporter. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  29. ^ Shaw, Martin (27 July 2023). "Shabir Pandor quits as leader of Kirklees Council amid controversy over councillor jailed for lying". Huddersfield Hub. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  30. ^ Marlow, Abigail (27 July 2023). "Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor was set to face vote of no confidence before shock resignation". Yorkshire Live. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  31. ^ "Local elections 2023: full council results for England". The Guardian. 9 May 2023. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  32. ^ Historic England. "Huddersfield Town Hall including wall and railings to area (1231723)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Customer Service Centres". Kirklees Council. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  34. ^ "The Borough of Kirklees (Electoral Changes) Order 2003",, The National Archives, SI 2003/3091, retrieved 18 June 2023
  35. ^ "Former mayors". Kirklees Council. January 2017. Retrieved 28 June 2017.