The council

The council

Portsmouth Guildhall at dusk with coloured lights illuminating the portico and windows

Portsmouth is ‘a good council that is performing well’

About the council

An LGA Peer Review in 2021 found us to be a good council that is performing well, with innovative work and evidence of good performance across many key services and engagement with local communities.

As a unitary authority we provide a diverse range of services that our residents rely on.


Through the city vision development, Portsmouth people told us they value collaboration, community, equality, respect and innovation and we share those values with our residents and communities. We are developing a set of values for how we work as a council, and these will be at the heart of the way we behave, the way we work and the way we shape our core services and plans.

Democracy and governance

The council has 42 elected members, one third of the council being elected each year for three consecutive years, with the fourth year a fallow year. The city has 14 wards. Each ward is represented by three councillors and one councillor in each ward is elected each year. The next fallow year is 2025.

We operate a cabinet model of decision making within a financial and policy framework set by the full council. The Cabinet comprises 10 elected members including the Leader, each of whom has responsibility for a specific portfolio of services, functions and policies.

Portsmouth’s political composition:

Party Members
Liberal Democrat 17
Conservative 13
Labour 6
Non-Aligned Independent 3
Portsmouth Independent Party 3


Services are delivered through ten directorates.

Organisation chart of Portsmouth City Council


We employ 3,796 staff, excluding those in schools, and each member of staff helps play a vital role in creating a workplace culture where inclusion, diversity and equality are paramount and where everyone knows that their personal contribution is valued.

Our staff are not only highly skilled and dedicated, but also passionate about delivering great services. They take huge pride in the city they serve and which many live in.

As part of a digital transformation of the council and response to the pandemic, we are reshaping how we work, establishing a flexible and agile workforce who work collaboratively to put customers at the heart of all we do. More detail about our staff can be found in our workforce profile


The council has a long history of robust financial management which was recognised in the recent peer review and is reflected in the council’s recently approved Budget for 2023/24 and Budget Forecast to 2026/27.

The council’s gross expenditure for 2023/24 (Revenue & Capital) amounts to £900m with savings of just £2m required to offset the extraordinary costs of inflation and demand related pressures. The forecast for future years indicates a broadly balanced position albeit recognising the potential for future volatility. Nevertheless, the council’s financial position is sound and it is well placed to face the future uncertainty that exists. More detail of the budget proposals can be found below

An elderly couple carrying deckchairs and bags on the beach.

Local MPs

Portsmouth is served by two members of parliament: Stephen Morgan, Labour (Portsmouth South) and Penny Mordaunt, Conservative (Portsmouth North).

Peer challenge report

In October 2021 Portsmouth City Council welcomed a Peer Challenge team from the Local Government Association (LGA) to look at how we work strategically as an organisation. To have a team of experts look at and assess the way you do things is incredibly useful. The Peer Challenge team found that Portsmouth is a good council, that is performing well and that they found the City Vision to be ambitious, clear and well-articulated.

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