About the new committee system

Following a public referendum in May 2022, our governance arrangements have changed from a Mayor and Cabinet model to a committee system.

From 6 May 2024, the council's committee system is led by 70 councillors, representing 34 wards. One councillor will be appointed by Full Council as the Leader of the Council.

The structure of the council's new governance arrangements was designed by the Committee Model Working Group and approved by Full Council.

pdf Easy Read version of information about the new committee system (4.52 MB) .

How decisions will be made

Under the committee system and rules set out in our Constitution, decisions are taken by either:

  • Full Council
  • Policy Committees
  • Regulatory Committees
  • Area Committees
  • Other committees, such as the Downs Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Council officers

The change in governance also introduces some new roles and responsibilities for elected members.

Key decisions

Key decisions are taken by Policy Committees where:

  • the council will need to spend significant sums of money, or make large savings
  • decisions will have a significant impact on communities in two or more wards in the city
Full Council

Full Council is made up of all 70 councillors. Meetings of Full Council are held in public and chaired by the Lord Mayor.

Legally, there are a number of functions which must be carried out by Full Council. These are set out in Regulation 3 of the Local Authorities (Committee System) (England) Regulations 2012.

  • The approval or adoption of the following plans or strategies:
    • Annual Library Plan
    • Crime and disorder reduction strategy
    • Development Plan documents
    • Licensing Authority Policy Statement
    • Local Transport Plan
    • Plans and alterations that together comprise the Development Plan
    • Sustainable Community Strategy
    • Youth justice plan
  • Approval or adoption of a plan or strategy for the control of the local authority's borrowing, investments, or capital expenditure, or for determining the authority's minimum revenue provision
  • Approval (where required) of the submission of any plan or strategy (whether in draft or not) to the Secretary of State or any Minister of the Crown for approval
  • Making, amending or revoking a Members' Allowances Scheme (to include basic, attendance and special responsibility allowances)
  • Determination of any allowance to be paid to the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Council (allowances to the Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor)
  • Determination of any basic, attendance or special responsibility allowances under an approved Members' Allowances Scheme
  • Making a request to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England for single-member electoral areas
  • Passing a resolution to change a scheme for elections (whole council, elections by halves or elections by thirds)
  • Making an order giving effect to recommendations made in a community governance review
  • To permit co-opted members of an overview and scrutiny committee to vote at an overview and scrutiny committee

There are also a number of other responsibilities that will be carried out by Full Council which are set out in Part 3 of the Council's Constitution:

  • Approval of the annual budget and setting the Council Tax
  • Approval of the Treasury Management Strategy
  • Approval of the Council's non-statutory plan for the delivery of the Council's policies and strategies (known as the Corporate Plan)
  • Approval of the Council's Constitution
  • Approval of the Council's Annual Pay Policy Statement
  • Establishment of and appointment to committees, including chairs of committees
  • Appointment of the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
  • Appointment of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor
  • Appointment of the Head of Paid Service, Monitoring Officer, Chief Finance Officer, Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer
  • Adoption of the scheme of delegation to officers
  • Any other business that is currently dealt with by Full Council will continue to be dealt with by Full Council
Policy Committees

How the new committees work

The new committee structure includes eight policy committees that broadly align to one of the council's Corporate Strategy themes.

Each committee is responsible for:

  • council functions that are set out in our Constitution
  • agreeing plans and strategies associated with their area
  • setting fees and charges for services in their area
  • making key decisions

Committees and their responsibilities

Adult Social Care Committee

Chair of the Adult Social Care Committee is Councillor Lorraine Francis.

The Adult Social Care Committee is responsible for:

  • Adult Social Care
  • Safeguarding Adults (including safeguarding boards)
  • Age Friendly City
  • Better Lives Programme
  • Family or friend carers
  • Ethical Care Council
  • Adaptable homes and intergenerational housing
  • Integrated Care System
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Homes and Housing Delivery Committee

Chair of the Homes and Housing Delivery Committee is Councillor Barry Parsons.

The Homes and Housing Delivery Committee is responsible for:

  • Housing delivery and innovation
  • Social housing and support services
  • Landlord services
  • Homelessness
  • Home-choice
  • Self builds
  • Estate renewal
  • Private rented sector
  • Living Rent City
  • Housing Strategy and Project 1000
  • Retro fit sustainability of homes: carbon and waste
  • Modern methods of construction
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Public Health and Communities Committee

Chair of the Public Health and Communities Committee is Councillor Stephen Williams.

The Public Health and Communities Committee is responsible for:

  • Public Health including Mental Health Services and Health Partnerships
  • Preventative services
  • Sport and leisure
  • Commissioning (Health)
  • Domestic violence and abuse
  • Community Safety, Community Cohesion and Safer Bristol Partnership
  • Community engagement and development
  • Transferred community assets
  • Community Safety, Community Cohesion and Safer Bristol Partnership
  • Voluntary and community organisations and community initiatives
  • Libraries
  • Parks and green spaces
  • Events and carnivals
  • Public protection and environmental health
  • Local decision making
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Economy and Skills Committee

Chair of the Economy and Skills Committee is Councillor Andrew Brown

The Economy and Skills Committee is responsible for:

  • Development of regional planning strategy (including Spatial Development Strategy)
  • Cross border responsibility for joint spatial planning
  • Delivery of renewed Local Plan
  • City resilience, (including delivery of city resilience strategy) and contingency
  • The Harbour
  • Flooding and flood strategy
  • Development management
  • Civil contingency planning: planning and control
  • Apprenticeships, training and work experience
  • Lifelong learning: City Economy
  • City Policy, Strategic Planning and Communications, Council Plan
  • University development and student accommodation
  • Major development schemes
  • Land and property allocated for housing development
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Strategy and Resources Committee

Chair of the Strategy and Resources Committee is Councillor Tony Dyer.

The Strategy and Resources Committee is responsible for:

  • Finance and budgets (including corporate finance)
  • Legal and statutory services
  • Corporate services
  • Performance
  • Council owned companies and innovation
  • Culture
  • Council's assets and Property Board
  • Commercialisation
  • External relations
  • Devolution
  • City Office and Bristol One City Plan
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • City funds
  • Equalities
  • Democratic engagement
  • Equality Commissions and Women's Safe City
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Children and Young People Committee

Chair of the Children and Young People Committee is Councillor Christine Townsend.

The Children and Young People Committee is responsible for:

  • Children's social care
  • Corporate parenting, fostering and adoption
  • Children and families support services
  • Youth services
  • Children's centres and pre-school
  • Safeguarding children (including safeguarding boards)
  • Schools and partnerships
  • Further education
  • Family and Child Friendly City
  • Educational catch up plan
  • Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)
  • Diversification of teaching work force
  • New schools and school places
  • School exclusions
  • School streets project
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
  • Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE)
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Transport and Connectivity Committee

Chair of the Transport and Connectivity Committee is Councillor Ed Plowden.

The Transport and Connectivity Committee is responsible for:

  • Transport policy
  • Transport maintenance
  • Major Transport Projects
  • Local Joint Transport Plan
  • Major projects
  • Capital Programme (delivery)
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk

Environment and Sustainability Committee

Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee is Councillor Martin Fodor.

The Environment and Sustainability Committee is responsible for:

  • Climate Emergency Strategy delivery
  • Ecological Emergency Strategy delivery
  • Waste and Recycling Strategy delivery
  • Clean streets campaign and street cleansing
  • Energy, Heat Networks and City Leap
  • Carbon neutrality and Green New Deal
  • Air Quality and Clean Air Plan
  • Departmental performance, budget and risk


Policy sub-committees may be formed by policy committees to delegate areas of work to.

For example:

  • a Finance sub-committee will consider budget developments and will report to the Strategy and Resources Policy Committee: Chair of the Finance sub-committee is Councillor Abdul Malik
  • a separate Health Scrutiny sub-committee will report to the Public Health and Communities Policy Committee
Regulatory Committees

A number of regulatory committees meet to carry out the council's regulatory functions.

Regulatory committees are committees that the council has to have by law.

There are two Development Control Committees that regulate land use and new building in Bristol. They decide major or controversial planning applications. Applications are referred to the committee by senior council officers and ward councillors

The Public Rights of Way and Greens Committee is responsible for the registration and protection of common land and town and village greens and granting permission and licences for work or changes to public rights of way and greens

The Public Safety and Protection Committee and Licensing Committee carrys out the council's licensing responsibilities

Area Committees

Full Council have agreed to create nine area committees for the following areas:

  • Area Committee 1: Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston, Henbury and Brentry, Southmead and Horfield
  • Area Committee 2: Stoke Bishop, Westbury on Trym and Henleaze, Redland and Bishopston and Ashley Down
  • Area Committee 3: Clifton, Clifton Down, Cotham and Hotwells and Harbourside
  • Area Committee 4: Central, Ashley, Lawrence Hill and Easton
  • Area Committee 5: Lockleaze, Eastville, Hillfields and Frome Vale
  • Area Committee 6: St George West, St George Central and St George Troopers Hill
  • Area Committee 7: Southville, Bedminster, Windmill Hill and Filwood
  • Area Committee 8: Hartcliffe and Withywood, Bishopsworth and Hengrove and Whitchurch Park
  • Area Committee 9: Knowle, Stockwood, Brislington West and Brislington East
Other committees

The council will continue to operate a number of other committees to support the delivery of its statutory duties and responsibilities.

A full description of the functions and responsibilities of these committees are in the council's Constitution.

Human Resources Committee

Chair of the Human Resources Committee is Councillor Kye Dudd.

The Human Resources Committee is responsible for:

  • decisions on personnel issues for senior staff and our pay policy
  • the wellbeing, performance and employment practices of our workforce
  • implementing equality policies relating to council employees

Audit Committee

Chair of the Audit Committee is Councillor Tim Rippington.

The Audit Committee is responsible for:

  • oversight of the council's accounts, financial performance and governance arrangements
  • codes of conduct and protocols which affect councillors and officers of the council

Selection Committee

The Selection committee is responsible for:

  • the appointment and starting salary of chief officers and deputy chief officers
  • the terms and conditions on which employees hold office

Appeals Committee

The Appeals committee is responsible for:

  • employees' appeals against dismissal
  • decisions on renewal and discharge of guardianship under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983

Value and Ethics Sub-committee

The Value and Ethics Sub-committee deal with:

  • all matters relating to the ethical framework affecting members of the Council under Part 1 Chapter 7 Localism Act 2011 as amended
  • other relevant legislation including regulations, directions and guidance

Health and Wellbeing Board

The Health and Wellbeing Board is responsible for:

  • encourage integrated working between commissioners of NHS, public health and social care services to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community
  • assess the needs of the local community through the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) and consider the need or likely need capable of being met or affected by Local Authority or CCG functions

Harbour Committee

Full Council has agreed to establish a Harbour Committee to carry out the responsibilities as the statutory Harbour Authority.

The Harbour Committee's terms of reference will be approved at its first meeting in 2024/2025. The terms of reference will include details on responsibilities, membership, co-opted members and voting rights.

Downs Committee

The Downs Committee was created by The Clifton and Durdham Downs (Bristol) Act 1861 (the Downs Act') to manage the Downs.

Escalation panel

Full Council has approved the establishment of an Escalation Panel, which would consider matters escalated to it, in line with the principles set out in Article 14 of the council's constitution.

External committees

The council also has a responsibility to sit on some external bodies to discharge its statutory functions. These external bodies include the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee and committees of The West of England Combined Authority.