New council Leader confirmed

Last Updated: 17 May 2022

The Leader of the new Westmorland and Furness Council has today been confirmed.

Councillor Jonathan Brook was selected as the new unitary authority’s first Leader at the inaugural meeting of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council, which took place at County Hall, Kendal.

The meeting also elected a Chair and Deputy Chair and the council’s Cabinet positions. The Cabinet comprises the councillors who will be responsible for overseeing the development of some of the key areas, or Portfolios, of the new council’s activities, ready for when Westmorland and Furness Council ‘goes live’ in 2023.

The Shadow Authority Cabinet is confirmed as:

Councillor Jonathan Brook - Leader, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Partnerships and Economy

Councillor Patricia Bell - Deputy Leader, Portfolio Holder for Adults, Health and Care

Councillor Sue Sanderson - Portfolio Holder for Children's Services, Education and Skills

Councillor Andrew Jarvis - Portfolio Holder for Finance

Councillor Peter Thornton - Portfolio Holder for Highways and Assets

Councillor Virginia Taylor - Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Communities and Localities

Councillor Giles Archibald - Portfolio Holder for Climate and Biodiversity

Councillor Dyan Jones - Portfolio Holder for Customer and Environmental Services

Councillor Judith Derbyshire - Portfolio Holder for Housing and Homelessness

Councillor Neil Hughes - Portfolio Holder for Transport.

The Chair of the new council is Councillor Matthew Severn with Councillor Ali Jama as Deputy Chair.

Councillor Brook commented: “I am delighted to have been confirmed as Leader and, along with Cabinet colleagues, I am looking forward to the challenge of forming this new council.

“This is a significant moment for local government in our area. We are tasked with building a new council that combines the services previously provided by four different authorities, across the broad and diverse geographical area within the Westmorland and Furness Council boundaries.

“It is a huge undertaking, but also a brilliant opportunity to look at the ways we deliver services. We will be working to ensure our services are more joined-up and efficient, that our communities are at the heart of everything that we do, that we design our services and our priorities around our communities’ needs and that we structure our workforce to best deliver those services.’’

Westmorland and Furness Council will act in ‘shadow’ form for the next 10 months, as its councillors engage in the planning and preparation for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.

1 April 2023 is the point where Westmorland and Furness Council and its councillors will officially take over responsibility for all services across the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas and the existing Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District councils, along with Cumbria County Council, will be dissolved.

Councillor Brook continued: “Until April 2023 all current services will continue to be delivered by our existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils. So, for example, if you live in Barrow, then Barrow Borough Council will still deal with your planning applications and if you live in the Eden area then Eden District Council will still be responsible for collecting your recycling etc.

“The newly elected Shadow Authority councillors for Westmorland and Furness will be working away ‘behind the scenes’ with the Local Government Reorganisation programme over the next year, planning how we integrate, develop, manage and ultimately improve services, as we move into the new council from April 2023 and beyond.’’

The first meeting of the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council follows local elections on 5 May. Councillors were elected to serve a five-year term with the first year on the shadow council. Westmorland and Furness Council has 65 councillors representing 33 wards.

The meeting today also confirmed memberships of Overview and Scrutiny, Standards and Senior Appointments committees and a number of appointments to interim statutory officer roles, including the appointment of Barrow Borough Council Chief Executive Sam Plum as Interim Head of Paid Service for the Shadow Authority of Westmorland and Furness Council.

Early Shadow Authority business heard at today’s meeting included reports on a Code of Conduct and standards arrangements and a proposed Shadow Authority constitution.


The creation of two unitary councils for Cumbria is part of Local Government Reorganisation. 

For more information on local government reorganisation in Cumbria go to:

For more information on the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council go to: