|Founded||1 April 1974|
since 24 May 2023
since 27 July 2023
|West Yorkshire Combined Authority|
|Multiple member first-past-the-post|
|4 May 2023|
|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.
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.  Kirklees was awarded borough status, allowing the chair of the council to take the title of mayor.
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.
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.
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, 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. Sheard was eventually re-elected as leader and appointed Pandor as his deputy. Pandor was subsequently elected leader of the council following the 2018 local elections.
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. 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.
At the 2021 local elections Joshua Sheard became the youngest councillor to be elected to Kirklees Council, at the age of 19.
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.
In late 2016 Ofsted inspected Kirklees Council's services for vulnerable children and judged them to be inadequate. In response, Education Secretary Justine Greening appointed Eleanor Brazil as Children's Services Commissioner to make recommendations for improvement.
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. The Director of Children's Services in Leeds, Steve Walker, took overall responsibility for services in Kirklees.
In June 2019 Ofsted conducted another inspection and found all aspects of children's services still required improvement to be good.
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:
|Party in control||Years|
|No overall control||1975–1976|
|No overall control||1979–1980|
|No overall control||1986–1990|
|No overall control||1994–1995|
|No overall control||1999–2018|
|No overall control||2020–2022|
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:
|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||Labour||26 Mar 2014||25 May 2016|
|Labour||29 Jun 2016||23 May 2018|
|Shabir Pandor||Labour||23 May 2018|
Following the 2023 election, the composition of the council was:
The next election is due in 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. 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.
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.
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.
|Reginald Hartley, JP||Labour||1974–75|
|Andrew Alastair Mason||Conservative||1976–77|
|Major Charles Cyril Kenchington||Independent||1978–79|
|Fred Pickles, J||Labour||1981–82|
|Colin C. Walker, JP||Labour||1985–86|
|George Speight, JP||Labour||1987–88|
|John Greaves Holt||Conservative||1988–89|
|Thomas Patrick O'Donovan||Labour||1990–91|
|David A. Wright, JP||Labour||1992–93|
|John Mernagh, JP||Labour||1993–94|
|Kenneth Douglas Sims||Conservative||1995–96|
|Michael Bower||Liberal Democrats||1998–99|
|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|
|Margaret Fearnley||Liberal Democrats||2005–06|
|Kamran Hussain||Liberal Democrats||2008–09|
|David Ridgway||Liberal Democrats||2012–13|
|Christine Iredale||Liberal Democrats||2017–18|
|Cahal Burke||Liberal Democrats||2023–present|