Understand how your council works

Types of council

This guide relates to councils in England and has been taken from the GOV.UK website (follow this link for more information).

Duties of County Councils

These are responsible for services across the whole of a county, like:

  • education
  • highways and transport
  • structure planning
  • fire and public safety
  • social care and services
  • libraries
  • waste management (not collection)
  • trading standards
  • civil emergencies
  • rights of way
  • registration of births, marriages and deaths
  • archives

Duties of District, Borough and City councils

These cover a smaller area than county councils.

They’re usually responsible for services like:

  • rubbish collection
  • recycling
  • parking
  • Council Tax collections
  • housing
  • planning applications
  • sports. leisure and arts
  • licences and permissions
  • air quality and pest control
  • libraries

Duties of Parish councils

These operate at a level below district and borough councils and in some cases, unitary authorities.
They’re elected and can help on a number of local issues, like providing:

  • allotments
  • public clocks
  • bus shelters
  • community centres
  • play areas and play equipment
  • grants to help local organisations
  • consultation on neighbourhood planning

They also have the power to issue fixed penalty fines for things like:

  • litter
  • graffiti
  • fly posting
  • dog offences

Moreinformation can be found by clicking the document below.

Legal powers and duties of Parish and Town Councils