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Cambridge City Council

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How the council works

Cambridge is divided into 14 wards, as shown on our ward map. Each ward is represented on the Council by three councillors, who are elected by the local community.

Councillors are responsible for making decisions about local services and budgets, while council staff implement the councillors’ agreed policies.

Councillors and officers are governed by our Constitution, which sets out rules determining how we function and make decisions.


Councillors are elected for a four-year term, with one seat in each ward up for election each year. Elections to the county council are held every fourth year.

Decisions by executive councillors are subject to analysis by a different group of councillors, who meet in scrutiny committees to check and monitor decisions.

Decisions relating to planning and licensing applications, or other regulatory matters, are made by our Planning, Licensing and Civic Affairs committees.

Council staff

The chief executive is our most senior officer, with responsibility for all our staff and services.

Our officers work in services, each of which consists of multiple sections and teams with specific responsibilities. Each service is managed by a head of service, most of whom report to one of our two strategic directors.

We run some of our services in partnership with Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

As of 31 March 2020, we employed 827 members of staff, with a full-time equivalent of 699.85.

Senior staff

Our senior officers are required to be politically neutral. This means they must not participate in any party political activity, although their work can involve advising and assisting elected councillors.

We publish senior council officers’ salaries as part of our open data initiative.


Our median salary is £29,577. The ratio of the highest-paid post to the median salary is 1:4.52.

Pay policy statement

Our pay policy statement sets out our policy on the remuneration (pay and benefits) of the posts of the chief executive, directors and heads of service.