In the United Kingdom where there are 434 local authorities, the term local government is used to refer to that tier of authority that deals with issues affecting local communities. These communities can mean a city, or town or even a group of villages. Local government tends to have much fewer powers than the national government, for instance they cannot raise as many taxes as parliament . Most of the funding for these local authorities and for any local government jobs they advertise comes from the Treasury in London. This funding may come in the form of grants, revenue raised through council tax as well as other taxes like business rates. With a combined budget estimated at over £113 billion, you can see that there are many career vacancies and jobs in local government available.

County councils
In England there are generally speaking two levels of local authority, there is the county council wards and then there are the district councils and English unitary authorities. These both can be classed as public bodies. In some districts below the district councils there is another level of local government and that is called a civil parish, although these tend to be in rural areas. In all of these councillors are elected in elections held every four years, to run and administer these offices through committees. These are separate and different from parliamentary elections. Each council will have a council leader who will be from a political party that has got the most votes and won the election. Typically this means the council leader could be from the Conservative party, Labour party, Liberal Democrats or one of the smaller parties like the Greens.

There are various functions that local authorities are responsible for they may vary slightly for each council. Generally speaking they will be social services, local housing, policing, waste collection, licensing, cemeteries, libraries. In England the biggest council is Birmingham City Council, which coincidentally is also the biggest metropolitan district council in Europe.

There is sometimes a healthy debate between MP’s and local authorities on how to get the best value for money for the tax payer. These arguments are played out in the national press, for instance on topics like government employment and the salary of local public sector jobs, or how best to deliver local services.

London Local Boroughs
In the capital London the principal authority is the 32 local boroughs, this is a separate tier of government from the Greater London Authority. There is also the elected mayor and the elected Assembly who work in partnership with the Mayor of London. In some other cities of the UK they also have a Lord Mayor. They boroughs run the schools in their areas as well as road maintenance and rubbish collection.

Some typical jobs in local government:

Youth worker jobs
Community Care Worker
Senior Auditor
Benefit Officers
Youth Worker
Council Tax Manager
Planning Technician
Administrative Officer

For further information visit:

The Local Government Association
Local Government Association
Local Government House
Smith Square
London SW1P 3HZ
Telephone: 020 7664 3131

Other related topics you may be interested in:

National School of Government