Local government may be the collective term for local councils. You may also sometimes hear them termed as local authorities. Local councils include councillors (members) who will be voted for with the public in local elections and paid council staff (officers) who deliver services. There are currently 411 councils in the UK. see this site
So what exactly do my local government do?
Councils give you a wide array of services, either directly through their staff or by commissioning services external to organisations. They also provide responsibility for that economic, social and environmental ’wellbeing’ in their area.
Most council services are mandatory. This means that the council have to do them as they are under a duty to take action by law. Some mandatory functions are tightly controlled by central government, providing a similar volume of service in the united states (eg payment of housing benefit). Other mandatory requirements (eg libraries) leave councils by incorporating choice in the level and type of service they offer.
Other services and operations are discretionary. These are services a council can select to provide but won’t have to. They consist of large economic regeneration projects, on the removal of wasp nests. Councils use a general capability to charge of these services as long as they are not prevented from doing this by other legislation and also the council won’t make a profit. Councils can charge for arts and entertainment activities, sport and recreational facilities plus some pest control services.
What different types of councils are there?
In the UK, there are many types of local council. Each of these has responsibility for a particular variety of local services. The forms of council in your town depend on whereby the UK your house is. Many areas have two tiers of municipality: county (or city) councils and district (or borough) councils. Larger towns and cities and a few counties have just one single council providing the many functions. Many areas likewise have parish or town councils. But what on earth is most important isn’t the name directed at each council nevertheless the services it includes for you.
County and city councils are accountable for services along the whole of an county or city, like education, transport, planning, fire and public safety, social care, libraries, waste management and trading standards.
District and borough councils cover a reduced area, usually a town or rural area, and therefore are usually liable for services like rubbish collection and recycling, council tax, leisure services and housing.
Unitary authorities are councils offering one tier of town and provide all services. Confusingly, they may be called city councils or borough councils or merely councils!
Parish and town councils operate with a level below district and borough councils. Parish or town councils are elected which enables it to help using a number of local issues, like planning applications or running local sports grounds and community halls.
This could be confusing, however the best way to learn who provides what locally is to visit your council’s website or contact their customer services. If you’re unsure who don’t know who to call, you can obtain the information from www.direct.gov.uk.
How is my local council funded?
Local government spending is with regards to a quarter of most public spending in the UK. Local councils are funded using a combination of grants from central government, Council Tax and business rates. (In Northern Ireland, district councils still raise money by using a domestic rate along with a business rate.) They also receive income from investments, council rents, sales and charges for aervices.
Central government (or devolved government in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) provides specific and general grants allow local authorities to deliver each of the necessary services. To divide in the funding, the us government uses a system using the number and valuation on properties in each area and just how much it costs to offer services there.
Council Tax provides in regards to a quarter of local funding. Local councils set the complete Council Tax they have to raise, determined by their overall budget to the year. Each household pays a measure depending on the value in their home. The government has powers in order that increases in local authority budgets and Council Tax usually are not excessive.
Business rates undoubtedly are a property tax on businesses and also other properties that aren’t homes. The national rates are set by central government.
Councillors from different political parties make the full council. The council is divided into individual groups called committees, that contain responsibility for particular services for example education or planning. Many decisions are recommended from the committees, but ought to be agreed with the full council. After decisions happen to be made from the elected people in the council, they may be carried out through the officers whose job it is always to deliver your service.
Every council must publish ahead of time when key decisions is going to be taken and publish meeting papers at the least five trading days beforehand. The minutes from the meeting, summarising decisions, must be published. You can attend most meetings in the council, although usually you won’t be capable of speak at them.
Most enquiries about services usually are made to council officers, by contacting the location hall or local customer enquiry office on the phone, email maybe in person. The details will probably be found on the website.
Councillors are elected to represent a selected geographical area, which is known as a ward. There will come to be more than one councillor for the ward. Each councillor should stand for re-election every four years. He or she is there to fully handle your case and your community. They usually are not paid a wage, but sometimes claim expenses to hide the cost of performing their duties. If you need to talk to them in regards to a problem with a council service as well as to let them know what you think with regards to a particular issue, you should be capable of get their data – for example the times and locations of the regular advice surgeries – in the council’s website.
How dothe people get there say
Councils will also possess a mayor or chairman in the council to try ceremonial duties. However, some councils have elected mayors who responsible for that day-to-day running of local services. They are voted for by people, and serve for four years. They provide political leadership on the council as well as the community, and execute the local authority’s policies.
This is different from council to council, however, many have introduced local committees (often known as neighbourhood forums or area committees) that happen to be open to you to travel along and express your views about where your home is. Some will involve you in decisions about how precisely money is spent or community action plans or supply you with the chance to have your say on planning applications. Your council office will probably be able to let you know if there is one locally.
Councils must consult their residents about certain changes like school closures or plans for redevelopment. If you have an interest, discover how they perform those consultations and how you can obtain involved. Some also conduct postal or online surveys to uncover what people think from the services they receive as well as get ideas for improvement. Look out for those. Finally, a volume of councils invite residents to stay on panels concerned with a unique service – as an illustration, housing or adult care – to find the views of people who use the service. Again, find out you are interested.
Of course there are a volume of other public organisations that are responsible with the services you receive. These include police officers service, fire and rescue service, Primary Care Trust (health services) and social housing landlords. They possess a legal duty to you and also your community and it’s worth finding out how they work, where their budgets come from and ways in which you can influence their decisions.