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How the Council works

The Council's role

The Council is run for and on behalf of the people of South Tyneside and the Council's assets belong, collectively, to the people of the Borough.

The Council's role is to champion and represent the social, economic and environmental well-being of the area. This role as a community leader is based on the Council's position as the locally elected democratic body.

Our aim is to work for our community in an open and transparent way and keep local people informed and involved in all we do.

There are two types of people who play a role in the Council's work.


Councillors, often referred to as members - meaning members of the Council, are elected by the people of South Tyneside, to oversee the running of the Borough on their behalf.

It is important to note that councillors are not employees of the council and are not paid a salary. Many have full-time jobs and their council work is done in their spare time.

Councillors are the elected representatives of the people and they have to put themselves up for re-election after each four-year term they serve, if they wish to remain a councillor.

There are a total of 54 councillors in South Tyneside, with 3 representing each of the 18 wards that the Borough is split into.

Councillors do not receive a salary or wage from the Council, but they are entitled to receive a members allowance for the work they do.

All 54 councillors sit on the council for as long as they remain a councillor. Every councillor serves for a term of 4 years before having to either put themselves up for re-election or retire.

Find your councillors

More about Councillors' expenses


At the annual meeting of the Council, in May of each year, the Council appoints a Mayor to preside over its meetings for the new municipal year. The Mayor is the "first citizen" of the Borough and spends a very busy year attending functions and events and meeting local groups and individuals. In this Council the Office of Mayor is purely ceremonial and it does not carry with it any decision-making powers.

Employees of the Council

Employees of the Council, usually referred to as officers in the case of white collar employee, give advice to councillors, manage and deliver the everyday services that the Council provides and implement the decisions that councillors make on behalf of the people of the Borough. As employees, they are paid a salary or wage to do this work.

Councillors discuss and make decisions on a wide range of issues. They do this through a formal committee structure. Different committees have different functions. The Council itself decides on the budget and certain high level policies (known as the Policy Framework). The cabinet is responsible for most day-to-day decisions but must take these within the budget and policy framework set by the Council.

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Decision making

The Council is responsible for approving the Council budget and a series of further high level policies set out in the Council constitution. These approvals are only given following wide consultation with partner organisations and the South Tyneside community.

Subject to Council approval of these things, the cabinet is left to get on with making most of the major decisions for that year, on behalf of the Council. The only provision is that, in making any decisions, the cabinet stays within the approved community strategy and budget and policy framework. This ensures that the Council's efforts are channelled towards achieving the priorities that have been agreed with our partners and the community we are here to serve.

More about the councillors

Council budget

Council Constitution3.18MB


There are scheduled meetings of the Council throughout the municipal year. These meetings are usually scheduled to take place on either the last or second last Thursday of each month, starting at 6pm. The meetings take place in the Council chamber of the Town Hall, South Shields and are open to the public to attend.

Spare copies of the agenda papers for Council meetings are made available in the Council chamber public gallery for members of the public to use and follow the meeting.

Council and committee meetings

Members of the public cannot directly take part in debates at Council meetings but they are able to ask questions and submit petitions. There are rules and procedures to follow if you want to do this.

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