Sefton Council
Sefton Council logo
June Burns,
since 16 May 2023[1][2]
Marion Atkinson,
since 18 January 2024[3]
Phil Porter
since July 2023
Seats66 councillors[4]
Political groups
Administration (49)
  Labour (50)
Other parties (16)
  Liberal Democrats (9)
  Conservative (4)
  Independent (2)
  Green (1)
Joint committees
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner
Last election
2 May 2024
Next election
7 May 2026
Meeting place
Town Hall, Trinity Road, Bootle, L20 7AE

Town Hall, Lord Street, Southport, PR8 1DA

Sefton Council, or Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council, is the local authority of the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside, England. It is a metropolitan borough council and provides the majority of local government services in the borough. The council has been a member of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority since 2014.

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2012. Full council meetings generally alternate between Bootle Town Hall and Southport Town Hall. The main administrative offices are at Magdalen House in Bootle.


The metropolitan borough of Sefton and its council were created in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, covering the whole area of five former districts and parts of another, all of which were abolished at the same time:

The area was transferred from Lancashire to become one of the five districts in the new metropolitan county of Merseyside. The first election to the new council was held in 1973. For its first year the council acted as a shadow authority alongside the area's outgoing authorities. The new metropolitan district and its council formally came into being on 1 April 1974, at which point the old districts and their councils were abolished.[5]

Sefton was the only one of the 36 metropolitan boroughs created in 1974 not to be granted borough status from its creation.[6] The shadow authority had decided against petitioning for borough status, which allows the chair of the council to take the title of mayor. It instead established charter trustees to allow the three towns of Bootle, Crosby and Southport (which each had mayors prior to the reforms) to continue to appoint separate mayors. Shortly after the new council came into effect the decision was reversed, with the council petitioning Queen Elizabeth II for borough status and abolishing the three separate town mayoralties.[7] A charter conferring borough status on Sefton was issued in 1975.[8] The council styles itself Sefton Council rather than its full formal name of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council.[9]

From 1974 until 1986 the council was a lower-tier authority, with upper-tier functions provided by Merseyside County Council. The county council was abolished in 1986 and its functions passed to Merseyside's five borough councils, including Sefton, with some services provided through joint committees.[10]

Since 2014 the council has been a member of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which has been led by the directly elected Mayor of the Liverpool City Region since 2017. The combined authority provides strategic leadership and co-ordination for certain functions across the region, but Sefton Council continues to be responsible for most local government functions.[11][12]


Sefton Council provides metropolitan borough services. Some strategic functions in the area are provided by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority; the leader of Sefton Council sits on the combined authority as Sefton's representative.[13] Parts of the borough are covered by civil parishes, which form an additional tier of local government for their areas.[14]

Political control

The council has been under Labour majority control since 2012.

Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[15][16]

Party in control Years
Conservative 1974–1986
No overall control 1986–2012
Labour 2012–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Sefton. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The first leader, Tom Glover, had been the last leader of the old Southport Borough Council. The leaders since 1974 have been:[17]

Councillor Party From To
Tom Glover Conservative 1 Apr 1974 May 1981
Eric Storey Conservative May 1981 May 1982
Ron Watson Conservative May 1982 8 May 1986
Joe Benton Labour 8 May 1986 3 May 1990
Peter Comer Labour 3 May 1990 2 May 1991
Dave Martin Labour 2 May 1991 May 2000
John Pugh Liberal Democrats May 2000 Jun 2001
David Bamber Liberal Democrats 26 Jul 2001 5 May 2002
Dave Martin Labour 16 May 2002 24 Jun 2004
Tony Robertson Liberal Democrats 24 Jun 2004 17 May 2011
Peter Dowd Labour 17 May 2011 May 2015
Ian Maher Labour 21 May 2015 18 Jan 2024
Marion Atkinson Labour 18 Jan 2024


Following the 2024 election, a councillor resignation in May 2024 and a by-election in June 2024 following a councillor death,[18] the political composition is as follows:[19]

Party Councillors
Labour 50
Liberal Democrats 9
Conservative 4
Independent 2
Green 1
Total 66

The next routine council election is due in May 2026.


See also: Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2004, the council has comprised 66 councillors representing 22 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with a third of the council (one councillor for each ward) elected each time for a four-year term of office.[20]

The wards are:


The council meets at both Bootle Town Hall and Southport Town Hall, each of which was inherited from one of the council's predecessor authorities. Full council meetings are usually held alternately at Bootle and Southport.[21] The council's main offices are at Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle.[22] Public-facing 'one stop shops' are at Stanley Road in Bootle and Lord Street in Southport.[23]


  1. ^ "Council minutes, 16 May 2023" (PDF). Sefton Council. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  2. ^ Jessett, Elliot (16 May 2024). "Dedicated Mayor makes history and jokes about secret to her success". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  3. ^ "Council minutes, 18 January 2024". Sefton Council. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  4. ^ "Your Council". Sefton Council.
  5. ^ "Local Government Act 1972: Schedule 1",, The National Archives, 1972 c. 70 (sch. 1), retrieved 30 May 2024
  6. ^ "District Councils and Boroughs". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 28 March 1974. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  7. ^ "Vote on status of Sefton". Liverpool Echo. 23 November 1974. p. 9. Retrieved 8 June 2024.
  8. ^ "Borough status for Sefton". Liverpool Echo. 20 March 1975. p. 7. Retrieved 8 June 2024.
  9. ^ "Find your local council". Retrieved 4 June 2024.
  10. ^ "Local Government Act 1985",, The National Archives, 1985 c. 51, retrieved 5 April 2024
  11. ^ "The Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority Order 2014",, The National Archives, SI 2014/865, retrieved 5 June 2024
  12. ^ "Understand how your council works". Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  13. ^ "Committee details". Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Retrieved 5 June 2024.
  14. ^ "Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 30 May 2024.
  15. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  16. ^ "Sefton". BBC News Online. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
  17. ^ "Council minutes". Sefton Council. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Election of a Borough Councillorfor the St Oswald Ward of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council: Declaration of Results" (PDF). Sefton Council. 21 June 2024. Retrieved 21 June 2024.
  19. ^ "Local elections 2024: full mayoral and council results for England". The Guardian. 4 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  20. ^ "The Borough of Sefton (Electoral Changes) Order 2003",, The National Archives, SI 2003/1977, retrieved 8 June 2024
  21. ^ "Council agendas and minutes". Sefton Council. Retrieved 27 August 2022.
  22. ^ Rand, Lisa (21 July 2023). "Council to sell 'surplus' offices which could become flats". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 8 June 2024.
  23. ^ "Contact the council". Sefton Council. Retrieved 8 June 2024.