Hertfordshire County Council
Arms of Hertfordshire County Council
Terry Douris,
since 23 May 2023[1]
Richard Roberts,
since 25 May 2021
Owen Mapley
since 12 October 2018
Seats78 councillors
Hertfordshire County Council composition
Political groups
Administration (45)
  Conservative (45)
Other parties (33)
  Liberal Democrat (24)
  Labour (7)
  Green (1)
  Independent (1)
Joint committees
East of England Local Government Association
Length of term
4 years
First past the post
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
1 May 2025
Meeting place
County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DQ

Hertfordshire County Council is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Hertfordshire, in England. The council was created in 1889. It is responsible for a wide range of public services in the county, including social care, transport, education, and the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. The Conservatives have held a majority of the seats on the council since 1999. The council is based at County Hall in Hertford.


Elected county councils were created under the Local Government Act 1888, taking over many administrative functions that had previously been performed by magistrates at the Quarter Sessions. The first elections were held in January 1889, and the council formally came into being on 1 April 1889, on which day it held its first meeting at Shire Hall, Hertford. The first chairman of the council was Francis Cowper, 7th Earl Cowper, who was also a Liberal member of the House of Lords.[3]

Local government across England and Wales was reformed in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, establishing a system of upper-tier county councils and lower-tier district councils. The 1972 Act classed Hertfordshire as a non-metropolitan county, which determined the division of responsibilities between the county council and the ten district councils which were created in Hertfordshire.[4]

Political control

Political control of the county council since the reforms of the Local Government Act 1972 took effect on 1 April 1974 has been as follows:[5]

Party in control Years
No overall control 1974–1977
Conservative 1977–1985
No overall control 1985–1989
Conservative 1989–1993
No overall control 1993–1999
Conservative 1999–present


The leaders of the council since 1995 have been:[6]

Councillor Party From To
John Metcalf Labour 1995 Jun 1999
Robert Ellis Conservative 15 Jun 1999 21 Mar 2006
David Beatty Conservative 28 Mar 2006 26 Sep 2007
Robert Gordon Conservative 9 Oct 2007 6 Oct 2017
David Williams Conservative 21 Nov 2017 9 May 2021
Richard Roberts Conservative 25 May 2021


After the 2021 election and by-elections up to December 2023, the composition of the council was:[7]

Party Councillors
Conservative 45
Liberal Democrats 24
Labour 7
Green 1
Independent 1
Total: 78

The independent and Green councillors sit together as a group.[8] The next election is due in 2025.


The council is based at County Hall on Pegs Lane in Hertford, lying to the south-west of the town centre. The building was completed in 1939; there was no opening ceremony due to the outbreak of the Second World War.[9]


Main article: Hertfordshire County Council elections

Elections are held every four years, interspersed by three years of elections to the ten district councils in the county. Since the last boundary changes in 2017, there have been 78 electoral divisions electing one councillor each.[10]


  1. ^ Day, Christopher (2 June 2023). "Herts County Council: New chairman and changes to cabinet". The Comet. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  2. ^ Corr, Sinead (25 May 2021). "New leader of Herts County Council sets out four-year agenda". Bishop's Stortford Independent. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Hertfordshire County Council". Hertfordshire Mercury. Hertford. 6 April 1889. p. 3. Retrieved 11 May 2023.
  4. ^ "Local Government Act 1972", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, 1972 c. 65, retrieved 11 May 2023
  5. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  6. ^ "Council minutes". Hertfordshire County Council. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  7. ^ "Hertfordshire County Council". BBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  8. ^ "Hertfordshire's County Councillors by political grouping". Hertfordshire County Council. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  9. ^ Historic England. "County Hall Including Terraces and Fountain, Hertford (1268807)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  10. ^ "The Hertfordshire (Electoral Changes) Order 2015", legislation.gov.uk, The National Archives, SI 2015/1873, retrieved 11 May 2023