About Us

Durham County Council employs 16,500 people (including schools) and serves a population of 530,100 people.

Established in 1888, the council was reorganised in 2009, becoming the seventh largest unitary council in the country, in terms of population.

We are responsible for providing a wide range of public services to the people of the county, and also represent and promote the interests of County Durham when dealing with regional, national and international affairs.

Our powers and responsibilities are determined by Parliament with county council elections held every four years. The most recent elections were held in May 2017; the next are in 2021.

We have 126 elected Members and are the largest directly elected assembly outside of Westminster.

Political composition

The current political make-up of the council can be found here.

Council structure

To deliver our services, there are five directorates:

Management structure

Our senior management team is:

  • John Hewitt - Chief Executive (interim)
  • Jane Robinson - Corporate Director of Adult and Health Services
  • John Pearce - Corporate Director of Children and Young People's Services
  • Alan Patrickson - Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change
  • Amy Harhoff - Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth
  • Paul Darby - Corporate Director of Resources (interim)

Council Plan 2020-23

The Council Plan is our high-level plan and is underpinned by a series of plans for service groupings. These plans cover three years and are updated annually.

The plan links closely with our Budget/Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and sets out the strategic framework for all of our plans and strategies. It sets out the council’s contribution to achieving the vision for County Durham as well as our own improvement agenda and the major programmes of work that Durham County Council will be undertaking over the medium term to recover from COVID-19.

Council Plan Ambitions and Objectives

COVID-19: Response, Restoration/Reset, Recovery

More and Better Jobs

  • Delivery of a range of employment sites across the county
  • A strong, competitive economy where County Durham is a premier place in the North East to do business
  • A broader experience for residents and visitors to the county
  • Young people will have access to good quality education, training and employment
  • Helping all people into rewarding work
  • Fewer people will be affected by poverty and deprivation within the county

People Live Long and Independent Lives

  • Children and young people will enjoy the best start in life, good health and emotional wellbeing
  • Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities will achieve the best possible outcomes
  • A physical environment that will contribute to good health
  • Promotion of positive behaviours
  • Better integration of health and social care services
  • People will be supported to live independently for as long as possible by delivering more homes to meet the needs of older and disabled people
  • We will tackle the stigma and discrimination of poor mental health and build resilient communities

Connected Communities

  • All children and young people will have a safe childhood
  • Standards will be maintained or improved across County Durham’s housing stock
  • Our towns and villages will be vibrant, well used, clean, attractive and safe
  • People will have good access to workplaces, services, retail and leisure opportunities
  • Communities will come together and support each other
  • Delivery of new high-quality housing which is accessible and meets the needs of our residents

An Excellent Council

  • Our resources will be managed effectively
  • We will create a workforce for the future
  • We will design our services with service users
  • We will use data and technology more effectively
  • We will actively performance manage our services

Find out more about the council at www.durham.gov.uk/aboutus