How the Council works


The Council is made up of 50 Councillors, who are elected every four years.

The full Council meet together approximately every two months, and make decisions in relation to the Council's Budget, Policy Framework, and Constitutional and related functions.


The Council appoints a Cabinet which consists of eight Councillors of the ruling group (Labour) The Cabinet is responsible for most of the day-to-day decisions.

The Council are required to appoint a number of Committees to undertake certain regulatory functions, that are the responsibility of the Council. These include the Planning Applications Committee, the General Licensing Committee, the Standards Committee and the Audit Committee.

The Council also appoint some Committees to review and scrutinise decisions made by the Cabinet, these are known as Scrutiny Committees.

Appointments to Cabinet and the various Committees [pdf document]


Meetings are open to the public to attend, except in certain circumstances where personal or private information may need to be disclosed. 

There are no restrictions on numbers attending meetings however there are only a limited number of seats available in each of the rooms.

Copies of the agenda and papers for each meeting are available five working days in advance of a meeting.

Democratic involvement

The Council has a Constitution (set of rules) which sets out how it operates. The Constitution allows members of the public to become involved in the decision-making process. 

Members of the public may ask questions of the Leader of the Council, Members of the Cabinet, or the Chair of a Committee, at an Ordinary Meeting of the Council. Members of the public may also ask questions at Committee meetings at the discretion of the Chair.

Darlington Borough Council welcomes petitions, and recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. The Council has introduced a petition scheme, the aim of which is to help reinvigorate local democracy, by putting local authorities at the forefront of the drive to reconnect people with public decision-making.


Darlington has a ceremonial Mayor, who is appointed on an annual basis.

Roles and responsibilities