What is a Local Authority?
A Local Authority (often called a local council) is an elected body that provides a range of services for a particular geographical area.
- In Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and most urban areas of England there are unitary authorities so that one council provides all the range of local services.
- In most rural and small town areas there are two tiers with a County Council responsible for areas such as adult social care, transport and education and District Councils responsible for other services such as refuse collection.
- In London there is a Greater London Authority for the whole area which deals with, for example, London Transport, the Police and large planning developments and 32 Borough Councils which deal with services such as education, adult social care and refuse collection.
- At a very local level in rural and small town areas there are town and parish councils in England and community councils in Wales with limited powers
- The Coalition Government created elected Police and Crime Commissioners in England, except London, for areas larger than local authorities and these are responsible for the police force.