How the council works

The people of Bristol are represented by:

  • The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees (Labour)
  • Councillors: one, two or three councillors for each of city's 34 wards, 70 councillors in total. Councillors make decisions on how to improve local services on behalf of local people and serve for a four year term.

Mayoral and councillor elections are held every four years.

The current political representation on the council is:

  • Conservative 14
  • Green 11
  • Labour 37
  • Liberal Democrat 8

The Cabinet

Every year, the Mayor forms a Cabinet. The Cabinet is made up of the Mayor and Cabinet members who each have special responsibility over an area of the council's activities, such as, neighbourhoods or transport. Their area of responsibility is known as their portfolio.

The Cabinet, which meets in public, provides accountable leadership to the city, and decides the council's key policies.

Full council

All councillors meet at various times of the year as “Full Council”. Council has certain powers of its own which include:

  • appointing committees
  • adopting and amending the council's policy and budget framework
  • setting the council's annual budget and agreeing the level of council tax.


Councillors also serve on various committees of the council. Membership is usually decided at the annual general meeting of Full Council.


The day to day management of the council and its services is carried out by the Strategic Leadership Team consisting of the City Director and four Strategic Directors for:

  • Business Change
  • People
  • Place
  • Neighbourhoods.