Who's who? A guide to the councillors appointed to key positions at South Somerset District Council

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Key positions on South Somerset District Council were confirmed at a meeting this week.

The decisions were made at the first full meeting of South Somerset District Council following the local elections earlier this month in which saw 41 Liberal Democrats, 15 Conservatives and 4 Independents win seats.

Cllr Val Keitch, who represents Ilminster, was nominated unopposed as Leader and will continue in the role she has undertaken since September, saying it was a great honour to do so. Cllr Peter Seib will be the Deputy Leader.

During the meeting, which took place on Tuesday 21 May, Cllr Tony Capozzoli stood down as South Somerset District Council Chairman saying it had been an honour and privilege to have held the role. Cllr Paul Maxwell was voted in as the new chairman with Cllr Jenny Kenton serving as vice chair (Cllr Mike Best had previously served in this post).

Cllr Maxwell said: “I want to thank both Tony and Mike for the superb jobs they did for this Council. I also want to give a warm welcome to our new councillors and I want this to be a Council where we treat each other with respect, regarding of political parties and views. We were elected to serve the people of South Somerset and we want to make them proud of this Council.”

The meeting saw portfolio holders – the elected council members who are responsible for different areas of the Council's work – appointed.

The portfolios have been redesigned to link more closely with the areas of work in the Council Plan, the document which sets out the vision and aims for the Council and how these are going to be delivered through areas of focus and priority projects. The current annual action plan and priority projects were approved unanimously by Full Council in February 2019.

The portfolio holder for strategy and housing will be Cllr Val Keitch.

The portfolio holder for finance will be Cllr Peter Seib.

The portfolio holder for economic development and commercial strategy will be Cllr John Clark.

The portfolio holder for the environment will be Cllr Sarah Dyke.

The portfolio holder for health and wellbeing will be Cllr Mike Best.

The portfolio holder for protecting core services will by Cllr Tony Lock.


Image shows the Council's 60 district councillors

The meeting also saw the structure and chairs of the council’s key committees confirmed.

Scrutiny Committee – This is the committee which monitors and scrutinises our performance as a whole as well as individual services. It can also make recommendations for any issue we are responsible for and which affects the local community. Cllr Crispin Raikes will serve as chairman with Cllr Sue Osborne and Cllr Gerard Tucker as vice chairmen.

Audit committee – This committee monitors the effectiveness of our risk management arrangements and makes recommendations in respect of corporate governance matters (i.e. how we conduct Council business). Cllr Martin Carnell will serve as its chairman with Cllr Mike Hewitson as vice chairman.

Regulation committee – This is the committee which conducts further checks on planning applications referred to it by our area committees. Cllr Peter Gubbins will serve as chairman with Cllr Neil Bloomfield as vice chairman.

Licensing committee – This the committee which acts for the Council in respect of licensing, registration and environmental protection functions. Cllr David Recardo will serve as chairman with Cllr Wes Read as vice chairman.

Appointments committee – This is the committee which is concerned with the appointment of Chief and Deputy Chief Officers and all matters relating to their employment and conditions. Cllr Val Keitch will serve as its chairman with Cllr Peter Seib as vice chairman.

Standards committee – This is the committee which has responsibility for the promotion and maintenance of good conduct by both district and parish councillors. Cllr Peter Gubbins will serve as its chairman.

We have four area committees (North, South, East and West), which work closely with their local communities, allowing Planning and other issues to be decided at a local level.

The Area West committee, which covers areas such as Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster, will have Cllr Jason Baker as its chairman.

The Area South committee, which covers areas such as Yeovil, will have Cllr Peter Gubbins as its chairman.

The Area East committee, which covers areas such as Bruton, Castle Cary and Wincanton, will have Cllr Henry Hobhouse as its chairman.

The Area North committee, which covers areas such as Somerton and Langport, will have Cllr Adam Dance as its chairman.

The area chairs were also appointed to the panel which will oversee the regeneration projects in Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton.

If you want further information on when meetings take place and how the Council is run, please visit the Your Council section of our new website.

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