Wakefield Council
Third of council elected three years out of four
Coat of arms of Wakefield.svg
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
Council logo
New session started
16 May 2013 (Municipal year 2013/2014)
Mayor of Wakefield
Tracey Austin [1], Labour
Leader of the Council
Denise Jeffery, Labour
since Dec 2019 [3]
Deputy Leader
Jack Hemingway, Labour
Leader of the Opposition
Tony Hames interim since 2022, Conservative
Chief executive
Andrew Balchin[2]
Wakefield District Council 2022.svg
Political groups
Administration (45)
  Labour (45)
Political groups
Other parties (18)
  Conservative (13)
  Independents (2)
  Liberal Democrats (3)
Multiple member first-past-the-post voting
Last election
2018 (one third of councillors)
2019 (one third of councillors)
2021 (one third of councillors)
2022 (one third of councillors)
Next election
2023 (one third of councillors)
2024 (one third of councillors)
Persevere and prosper
Meeting place
County Hall (1898), Wood Street, Wakefield.jpg
County Hall, Wakefield
Constitution, 16 May 2013

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, also known as Wakefield Council, is the local authority of the City of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England. It is a metropolitan district council and provides a full range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority. Wakefield is divided into 21 wards, electing 63 councillors. A third of the council is elected for three of every four years. The council was created by the Local Government Act 1972 and replaced the Wakefield City Council of the County Borough of Wakefield and several other authorities. Since 1974 Wakefield has held borough and city status and from this time would use the full title of the authority on all publications, signage, council vehicle fleet and documents, however from around 2005, like many other local authorities doing so at the time, the authority dropped the full title for the shorter Wakefield Council (although for an interim period when the new logo was unveiled, it would have the full authority title below however this has now been replaced with the strapline - 'working for you').

As of May 2019 the council is controlled by the Labour Party. The council leader has been Denise Jeffery since December 2019 and Andrew Balchin is the chief executive. Since April 2014 Wakefield Council is a constituent council of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.


The council was formed by the Local Government Act 1972 as the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. It replaced the existing Wakefield City Council that was the local authority of the County Borough of Wakefield. It also replaced Castleford Borough Council, Ossett Borough Council, Pontefract Borough Council, Featherstone Urban District Council, Hemsworth Urban District Council, Horbury Urban District Council, Knottingley Urban District Council, Normanton Urban District Council, Stanley Urban District Council, Wakefield Rural District Council, Hemsworth Rural District Council and Osgoldcross Rural District Council.

The current local authority was first elected in 1973, a year before formally coming into its powers and prior to the creation of the Metropolitan District of Wakefield on 1 April 1974. The council gained borough and city status and to annually appoint a Mayor of Wakefield.

It was envisaged through the Local Government Act 1972 that Wakefield as a metropolitan local authority would share power with the West Yorkshire County Council. The split of powers and functions meant that the West Yorkshire County Council was responsible for "wide area" services such as fire, ambulance and waste disposal with the district authorities responsible for "personal" services such as social care, libraries, education and refuse collection. This arrangement lasted until 1986 when Wakefield Metropolitan District Council gained responsibility for some services that had been provided by the West Yorkshire County Council. The Local Government Act 1985 directed the councils of West Yorkshire to form joint arrangements in order to deliver these functions.

Powers and functions

Inside the council chamber
Inside the council chamber

The local authority derives its powers and functions from the Local Government Act 1972 and subsequent legislation. For the purposes of local government, Wakefield is within a metropolitan area of England. As a metropolitan district council, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council provides most local government functions directly. It is a billing authority collecting Council Tax and business rates, it processes local planning applications, it is responsible for housing, waste collection and environmental health, it is a local education authority, responsible for social services, libraries and waste disposal.

Certain services are provided with the other local authorities in West Yorkshire. The council is represented on West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee (for trading standards, archives, archaeology and grants), West Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority, West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority and the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.[5] Wakefield Council has been a constituent member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority since 2014.


In 2004 the district's extensive council housing was transferred to Wakefield and District Housing (WDH), a new independent housing association. Council houses account for around 30% of the district's housing.


Wakefield Metropolitan District Council is the billing authority for Council Tax, and collects a precepts on behalf of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and the West Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority.


Main article: Wakefield Metropolitan District Council elections

Electoral arrangements

One third of the council is elected in three of every four years, followed by one year without elections. For the purpose of electing councillors, Wakefield is divided into 21 wards.[6][7]

  • 17 Wakefield North
  • 18 Wakefield Rural
  • 19 Wakefield South
  • 20 Wakefield West
  • 21 Wrenthorpe and Outwood West

Political makeup

The current council composition is Labour 45, Conservatives 11, Independents 4, Liberal Democrats 3 following the 2022 local elections. The following changes have occurred since that election:[8]

Party political make-up of Wakefield Council over time
Party Seats
2016[9] 2018[10] 2019 2021 2022 Current
Labour 53 52 49 43 45 45
Conservative 7 11 11 17 13 11
Liberal Democrat 0 0 1 2 3 3
Independent 2 0 2 1 2 4
UKIP 1 0 0 0 0 0

2022 Vote Share (%)

Combined vote share of wards from the 2022 United Kingdom local elections.

LAB = Labour. GRN = Green Party. LD = Liberal Democrats. Ind = Independent candidates. Oth = Others. CON = Conservative

51.7 4.9 5.3 5.4 5.2 27.5

Former logos


  1. ^ Council, Wakefield Metropolitan District. "Introducing the Mayor and Mayoress". www.wakefield.gov.uk.
  2. ^ "Wakefield Council confirms Andrew Balchin as new chief executive". Wakefield Express. 17 December 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  3. ^ "LGA Councillor details - Cllr Peter Box CBE". www.local.gov.uk. 12 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Open Council Data UK - compositions councillors parties wards elections". opencouncildata.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Constitution" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Wakefield Ward Boundaries" (PDF).
  7. ^ "The City of Wakefield (Electoral Changes) Order 2003".
  8. ^ Gardner, Tony (29 November 2022). "Tory chief whip on Wakefield Council quits party to sit as an independent days after resignation of group leader". Wakefield Express. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Local election Results 2014". Wakefield Council.
  10. ^ Council, Wakefield Metropolitan District. "Local Election results 2018". www.wakefield.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2019.