May elections

You must register to vote in the upcoming May elections before Wednesday 17 April. If you cannot attend the elections, you can apply for a postal vote before 5pm on Wednesday 17 April. Find all the key dates on our election news page.


Council structure

The Harlow Council Constitution sets out how we operate, how we make decisions and the procedures we follow.

The Harlow Council Corporate Strategy 2021 to 2024 outlines the council’s vision, with our principles and priorities and how we will achieve them over the next 3 years.

Councillors and Full Council

The council is run by 33 councillors, who form the Full Council. They are elected by the local community and serve for a period of 4 years, with one third of the council being re-elected every year.

The political control of Harlow Council is Conservative. There are 21 Conservative and 12 Labour councillors.

The Full Council is responsible for setting budgets and policies.

Full Council meetings take place 6 times a year and are open to the public.

The leader of the council chairs the Cabinet which is made up of councillors appointed by them with defined responsibilities or 'portfolios'. 

The leader of the council and cabinet portfolio holders will be appointed at the Annual Council meeting each May.

The chair of the council is chosen by the council and is the Harlow's first citizen and representative.


To support the Cabinet, we have a number of other committees where councillors take decisions.

Each committee focuses on a specific council function. The committees consider issues in detail at scheduled meetings, and then decisions or recommendations are made to the Cabinet or to the Full Council.

You can view all our different committees.

Council staff and departments

Whilst elected councillors set the policies, paid employees (council officers) put them into practice.

The council employs over 400 staff. These include housing officers, customer advisors and staff responsible for a wide range of services.

There are 5 services in Harlow Council:

  • Finance
  • Housing
  • Communities and Environment
  • Strategic Growth and Regeneration
  • Governance and Corporate Services

The director of each of these services, along with the Chief Executive, makes up our Senior Management Board.

Structure chart

For details of our current structure, you can view our structure chart:

You can find structure charts from previous years on our transparency page.

Chief Executive

Yvonne Rees in the interim Chief Executive of Harlow Council and the Head of Paid Service.


Simon Freeman is the Deputy to the Chief Executive and Director of Finance. Simon is the Section 151 Officer (Chief Financial Officer).

Responsible for:

  • Accountancy
  • Insurance and Risk
  • Internal Audit
  • Revenues and Benefits


The Director of Housing position is currently vacant.

Responsible for:

  • Housing Asset Management and Facilities
  • Housing Assets and Business Systems
  • Housing Management
  • Housing Needs and Options
  • Housing Projects
  • Home Ownership
  • Leah Manning Centre
  • Non-Housing Asset Property and Facilities
  • Supported Housing
  • Tenant and Leaseholder Engagement
  • Office Facilities

Communities and Environment

The Director of Communities and Environment position is currently vacant.

Responsible for:

  • Arts, Culture and Tourism
  • Community Safety
  • Community Engagement
  • Economic Growth and Development
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Management (including carbon management)
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Harlow Museum and Walled Gardens
  • Harlow Playhouse
  • Licensing
  • Pets’ Corner
  • Sam’s Place
  • Street Scene
  • Waste and Recycling

Strategic Growth and Regeneration

The Director of Strategic Growth and Regeneration position is currently vacant.

Responsible for:

  • Building Control
  • Development Management
  • Council Housing Delivery
  • Regeneration projects
  • Planning Policy

Governance and Corporate Services

The Director of Governance and Corporate Services position is currently vacant.

Responsible for:

  • Business Continuity
  • Communications
  • Corporate and Governance Support
  • Customer Services
  • Electoral Services
  • Human Resources
  • Legal Services
  • Local Land Charges
  • Performance management
  • Project support
  • ICT