Committee Information

Information about the Committees which make up the Council.

You can see the Committees which make up South Hams District Council and how they operate under the headings below.

Councillors also serve on external bodies and forums, and these are listed below.

South Hams Committees

Full Council

Meetings of Full Council consist of all 31 District Councillors representing the twenty wards of South Hams District Council.

The full list of Council functions and responsibilities can be found in Part 3b of the Constitution Delegation Scheme (See Our Constitution). The main responsibilities are to agree the annual budget, agree new policies and changes to existing ones, and to determine the Council's priorities.

Full Council meets approximately 4 times a year, but can meet more often if the need arises.

Meetings are held on a Thursday at 2.00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at Follaton House, Totnes. Members of the public are welcome to attend and listen to the debate but are not allowed to speak or ask questions. Please see Public Questions for details of meetings where members of the public can speak or ask questions.

Full Council meetings are live streamed on the Internet. You can watch the proceedings on our Engagement Portal.

Previous meetings can be viewed on our YouTube Channel.

If you have any questions about Full Council meetings, please email

Full Council


The Executive is a group of Councillors at South Hams District Council, elected annually at Full Council.

Meetings of the Executive consist of nine District Councillors who each have specific areas of responsibility, known as 'portfolios'.

The Leader of the Council is the Chairman of Executive and the Deputy Leader is the Vice-Chairman. These positions are elected for the four-year term of the Council and are re-appointed after local Council elections. The remaining members of the Executive are appointed annually by Full Council.


Overview and Scrutiny Committee

That is why South Hams District Council has a Scrutiny Committee to make sure that a robust process is firmly in place and procedures are being properly monitored on your behalf.

South Hams District Council aims to have a scrutiny function that adheres to the Centre for Public Scrutiny's four principles of good scrutiny:

  • Provides critical challenge to executive policymakers and decision makers
  • Enables the voice and concerns of the public to be heard
  • Is carried out by 'independent minded governors' who lead and own the scrutiny role
  • Drives improvement in public services 

The Scrutiny Committee also monitors the decisions of the Executive and have the ability to 'call-in' decisions made by the Executive which are still to be implemented. This enables the Scrutiny Committee to consider whether the decision made was appropriate and if it should recommend that the Executive or full Council reconsider the decision. Scrutiny may also be consulted by the Executive or the Council on forthcoming decisions and the development of policy.

Overview and Scrutiny Panel consists of 13 District Councillors, who are appointed each year by Full Council. The Committee meets 8 times a year, but can meet more often if needed. The meetings are held on a Thursday in the Cary Room at Follaton House, Totnes.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Audit and Governance Committee

Meetings of the Audit and Governance Committee consist of seven District Councillors who are appointed annually by Full Council.

The Committee meet four times a year, but can meet more often if needed.

The full list of functions and procedure rules for the Audit and Governance Committee can be found in Part 3b of the Constitution Delegation Scheme (see Our Constitution). The main responsibilities of the Committee are

  • to review and approve the Annual Statement of Accounts;
  • to consider the draft Annual Statement of Accounts; and,
  • to agree the Internal Audit Work Plan

Audit and Governance Committee

Audit and Governance (Hearing) Sub Committee

The Audit and Governance (Hearing) Sub Committee meets on an ad hoc basis to consider complaints against District, Town and Parish Councillors.

Meetings of the Sub Committee consist of three members of the Audit and Governance Committee, all of whom have received specialist training from the Council's monitoring Officer.

The Hearing Sub Committee meets as and when required. It is convened to consider complaints which relate to alleged breaches of the Member's Code of Conduct by South Hams District Councillors and/or Town and Parish Councillors in the South Hams.

For more information about complaints under the Code of Conduct or to see the Code itself, please see the Standards Complaints page.

Hearing Sub Committee

Development Management Committee

Meetings of the Development Management Committee consist of twelve District Councillors and are held approximately every four weeks on a Wednesday.

The main function of the committee is to decide planning applications.

Not all planning applications go before Development Management Committee. If you have commented on an application which is going before the Committee, you will be notified in advance.

Development Management Committee

Site Inspection Group

During a meeting of the Development Management Committee, a majority of Members can vote to visit an application site before a decision to approve or refuse the application is made at the next scheduled meeting.

The purpose of the site visit is to enable Members to view an application in the local context.

In addition to the Council's officers and its advisors (e.g. County Engineer), those who are entitled to attend and take part are:

  • The Chairman and/or Vice Chairman of the Development Management Committee*
  • District Councillors*
  • The Member(s) representing the Ward in which the site is located
  • A representative of the Town or Parish Council within whose area the site is located.
  • Neither the applicant/agent nor any third party may participate in the site meeting, however, they are able to attend and listen to the proceedings.

Read the Site Inspection Protocol for more information.

Major Applications

From September 2013 all major applications to be determined by the Development Management Committee are now the subject of a Full Committee site inspection.  These site applications are fact-finding visits and a recommendation back to the Development Management Committee does not tend to be made. However, the application is presented in full at the next Development Management Committee for discussion and debate, following which a decision will be made.

Licensing Committee

The Licensing Committee consists of twelve District Councillors, appointed annually by Full Council.

The Committee meets at least once a year, but can meet more regularly if required.

The full list of functions and procedure rules for Licensing Committee can be found in Part 3b of the Constitution Delegation Scheme (see Our Constitution). The main responsibility is to oversee the Councils' licensing functions. They determine whether to grant or refuse licences for alcohol, premises, Hackney Carriage Drivers, street trading and zoo licences, among others.

Licensing Committee

Licensing Sub Committee

Meetings of the Licensing Sub Committee consist of any three members from the full Licensing Committee. They are arranged on an ad-hoc basis, as and when they are required to determine Licences for alcohol, entertainment, gambling and a whole host of other areas.

Licensing Sub Committee

Budget Advisory Committee

The Budget Advisory committee is made up of the 25 District Councillors who do not hold positions on the Executive.

It meets annually in January to consider the Budget Proposals for the forthcoming financial year.

Budget Advisory Committee

Council Tax Setting Committee

The Full Council has given authority for the Council Tax Setting Committee to set out the Council Tax each year.

The committee set the Council Tax for the District, having taken into account the precepts provided to them by Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the Local Town and Parish Councils.

For more information about Council Tax, including what percentage each authority receives, please see How is my Council Tax Spent.

Council Tax Setting Committee

Salcombe Harbour Board

Salcombe Harbour Board consists of ten members - Four District Councillors and six co-opted Members. Each Member is appointed on a fit for purpose basis.

The Harbour Board meets approximately six times a year. Meetings are held on a Monday at 2.30 p.m.

The full list of functions and procedure rules can be found in Part 3b of the Constitution Delegation Scheme (see Our Constitution). Its main function is to improve, maintain and manage the whole of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary for the benefits of users. This includes local fisherman, local residents and visitors. The Board is responsible for balancing the commercial outlook while conserving and protecting the estuary environment.

The Board also appoints representatives to serve on Harbour Community Forums as follows:

  • Kingsbridge Estuary Boat Club (KEBC)
  • Kingsbridge and Salcombe Marine Business Forum
  • Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary Association
  • Salcombe Kingsbridge Estuary Conservation Forum

Salcombe Harbour Board

Governance Board and Panels

Other groups and panels within South Hams District Council, and the Members who serve on them.

Board Councillors
Armed Forces Covenant Champion Cllr Alison Dewynter
Devon Building Control Partnership Cllr John Birch
Cllr John McKay
Director – Plymouth & South Devon Freeport Cllr John Birch
Joint Local Plan Partnership Board Cllr Julian Brazil
Cllr Dan Thomas
Member Development Steering Group Cllr Georgina Allen
Cllr Nicky Hopwood
Cllr Alison Nix
Cllr Chris Oram
Cllr Anna Presswell
Cllr Dan Thomas
Rate Relief Panel Cllr John Birch
Cllr Nicky Hopwood
Cllr Ged Yardy
Slapton Line Steering Group Cllr Jonathan Hawkins
Cllr Laurel Lawford
South Devon National Landscapes Partnership Committee Cllr Georgina Allen
Cllr John McKay
Tamar Valley National Landscapes Partnership Committee Cllr Chris Oram

Membership of Outside Bodies

Representatives for South Hams District Council on outside bodies and forums 2024-2025

Organisation Nominee
Dartmoor National Park Authority Cllr Guy Pannell
Devon Audit Partnership Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman of Audit Committee
Devon Authorities Strategic Waste Committee Cllr Julian Brazil
Substitute: Cllr Jacqi Hodgson
Devon County/South Hams Highways and Traffic Orders Committee Cllr John Birch
Cllr Denise O'Callaghan
Devon Districts Forum Leader of Council
Governance Board (South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) Cllr Ged Yardy
Heart of the South West Devloution Joint Committee Cllr Julian Brazil
Substitute: Cllr Dan Thomas
Hope Harbour Commissioners Cllr Mark Long
Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on Housing for Local Needs in the Dartmoor National Park Cllr Alison Dewynter
Cllr Guy Pannell
Local Government Association - District Council Network Leader or Deputy Leader of the Council
Local Government Association - General Assembly Leader or Deputy Leader of the Council
Local Government Association - South West Branch Leader or Deputy Leader of the Council
Local Government Association - Rural Commission Leader or Deputy Leader of the Council
Local Government Association - Committee, Panel etc. appointments These appointments are made via an Electoral College process
through the LGA. Council has been given delegated authority to the Monitoring Officer, in consultation with the Leaders of the political groups, to agree any such appointments.
PATROL - Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London Cllr Guy Pannell
Police and Crime Commissioners' Scrutiny Panel Cllr Dan Thomas
River Yealm Harbour Authority Cllr Tom Edie
South Devon and Dartmoor Community Safety Partnership Cllr Simon Rake
South West Councils Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
SPARSE Rural and Rural Services Network Cllr John McKay