The powers and duties of councils - vast new resource published

Kent County Council’s Legal Services team in conjunction with LG Inform Plus and the esd-standards team has published guidance on the legal powers and duties of every English and Welsh local authority and fire authority.  The guidance points to what services your council must deliver and what it has the power to deliver if it chooses.

The powers and duties guidance links the widely adopted Local Government Services List to  It gives, for each service, the legal power or duty and the applicable types of authority.

In all more than 2,200 pieces of legislation are referenced dating from the Town Improvement Clauses Act of 1847 to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 2013.  For both Englandand Wales, more than 1,000 powers and 1,000 duties are identified, relating to 643 customer facing services and 51 internal activities of a council.

The powers and duties research represented a massive job for our team.  We pleased that it has resulted in this unique resource, which will relieve other councils of similar effort and improve productivity of the local government sector. - Geoff Wild, Director of Governance & Law, Kent County Council

There is a tool available to all councils who subscribe to the LG Inform Plus (formerly esd-toolkit) programme that lets officers search and filter powers and duties.  The tool allows information to be downloaded as a spreadsheet or output as a document for opening in Microsoft Word.

For linked data experts, all the data is accessible from a triple store using the SPARQL language.

Whilst Powers and Duties information is only provided for guidance, it gives councils a head start in answering questions around what they must and what they can do.  Further information can be found by following links to the precise legislation.

posted by Mike Thacker on 7th March 2014

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