Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Coat of arms or logo
Steve Elling, Labour Party
Barbara Price
Chief Executive
Jan Britton
Seats 72
First past the post
Last election
3 May 2012
Meeting place
Warley - Sandwell Council House.jpg
Council House, Sandwell

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council was created in 1974 to administer the newly formed Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, in the West Midlands county of England.

The council offices are located at the Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury town centre, which opened in 1989.[1]

Sandwell is divided into 24 Wards and is represented by 72 ward councillors. Elections to the council take place in three out of every four years, with one-third of the seats being contested at each election.

Since the Local Government Act 1985, Sandwell Council has effectively been a unitary authority, serving as the sole executive, deliberative, and legislative body responsible for local policy, setting council tax, and allocating budget in the district; although public transport, fire and police services, and the local government pension fund (West Midlands Pension Fund) are jointly run by the seven metropolitan boroughs of the West Midlands county.


Most of Sandwell's councillors are members of the Labour Party, with the Labour party having run the council since the first election in 1973, apart from one year between 1978 and 1979 when the Conservatives had a majority. By 2014, all but two of Sandwell's 72 councillors were Labour members.[2]

In May 2013, it was announced that following a re-shuffle, there was a freeze on allowances for Sandwell Council Cabinet Members and that the membership of the cabinet was reduced from 10 to 8.[3]

Affiliation Members[4]
Labour 68
  Independent Labour 2
Vacant 1
Total number of seats 72
Actual majority 68

Recent History[edit]

Despite being the 14th most deprived borough in the UK, the council has invested and worked with many partners to ensure the regeneration of the borough attracting many new SME businesses. The Leader of the Council said that "successful small businesses are essential for the economy and for thriving local communities" [5]

Children's Services – In April 2013, an OFSTED report criticised Sandwell's children's services highlighting failings around domestic violence and rating the service inadequate.[6] The following month, the council gave its backing to ambitious plans to make its children's service amongst the best in the country by teaming up with private sector firm iPOWER.[7]

Projects [8] include:

Smethwick Regeneration: Midland Metropolitan Hospital, Windmill Eye NeighbourHood and a £23.5 million redevelopment of Holly Lodge College of Science (creating a state of the art learning environment for 1,250 pupils)

The Portway Lifestyle Centre, Wednesbury Leisure Centre, The Crofts and Charlemont Flats

Regeneration of West Bromwich: a significant piece of investment including provisions for new retail, entertainment, arts, education and transit links. Despite the delays, it is anticipated that the majority of the regeneration will be completed by early 2014. One of the most controversial projects has been that of The Public, a community arts venue. In November 2013 venue was closed after the council decided that it would no longer subsidise it as an Arts Centre.[9] The Council announced in October 2013 that it had entered into an agreement with Sandwell College to take over the building, converting it into a Sixth Form college.[10] It is proposed that the council would need to borrow the money to refit the £70 million arts centre in order to make it suitable for the college whilst investors in the original project may sue the council if this proposal were to go ahead.[11]

The leader of Sandwell Council, Darren Cooper, died suddenly on 26 March 2016, while in office. He was succeeded by deputy leader Steve Elling.[12]


External links[edit]