UK Local Councils

Democratically elected councils govern cities, towns and rural areas in the UK, with responsibilities divided above both district and county councils in many areas.  Generally though, the larger towns and cities will have a single local authority in operation.

Local Council Responsibilities

Local authorities are also required to provide 'mandatory services' to their constituency. The majority of the funding for these services comes from the government through taxes, with only about 20% funded locally through 'council tax'.  The services and areas for which they are responsible include:

  • Standards and Improvement;
  • Taxing and Spending;
  • Tackling unemployment and caring for the social, economic and environmental well-being of their community;
  • Transport Services;
  • Community safety and crime prevention ;
  • Education and lifelong learning;
  • Housing;
  • Arts, sports and culture;
  • Environment - including street cleaning, refuge collection and recycling schemes; AND
  • Planning and Regulation.

Mayors in the UK

In many towns and cities, a mayor will be appointed to act as a council's ceremonial leader, but in others, the mayor is given the responsibility of being the effective leader of the administration.  One example of this is London, which despite having 33 local authorities has the Mayor of London (who, at the time of writing, is Boris Johnson of the Conservative party) and the Greater London Authority co-ordinating policies across the city.