A selection of images representing communities.
Council governance, leadership, constitutions, elections and electoral arrangements, byelaws and councillor conduct
Local authorities are independently elected and autonomous bodies largely independent of central government, directly accountable to their electorates, the auditor and ultimately to the courts. They derive their powers from legislation, powers conferred on them by Acts of Parliament. Some powers are given to county councils - some to district councils - some to all local authorities. Some are mandatory, which means that the authority must do what is required by law; others are purely permissive, allowing an authority to provide services if it wishes. In certain services, ministers have powers to secure a degree of uniformity in standards in order to safeguard public health or to protect the rights of individual citizens.
So local areas need strong, effective and accountable leadership. The new governance arrangements enable local leaders to use their wider influence as well as their powers to get things done for their communities. All councillors have a role to play in representing their communities and for the successful delivery of services.
This section deals with council constitutions, elections and electoral arrangements, byelaws and how we work with other countries in developing good local and regional governance.