About Us

Durham County Council employs 15,000 people (including schools) and serves a population of 521,300 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 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 highly commended corporate management team (MJ Awards, 2021) is as follows:

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

In 2018 we were highly commended for highways services in the MJ Achievement Awards and earlier this year we were highly commended in the 2021 MJ Achievement Awards for our approach to senior leadership.

Council Plan 2023-27

The Council Plan is our primary corporate planning document. It details the council’s contribution towards achieving the objectives set out in the Vision for County Durham 2035, together with our own objectives and improvement agenda. It aims to provide a readable and accessible summary for Members, officers, partners, and the public on our priorities for the county. The most recent plan can be viewed here.

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

CIPD - Finalist, excellence in leadership