There is much confusion about who does what in the three tiers of local government. We have all heard people complain about ‘the’ Council – but which one does what?

County Council
Education, fire services, highways (maintenance, traffic management and street lighting), libraries, public rights of way, public transport, recreation, arts and museums, social services, strategic planning, trading standards, waste disposal.

District Council
Collection of Council Tax and Rates; elections; environmental health; housing; minor roads, footpaths, car parks; planning applications, public conveniences, recreation, Arts, Museums and Tourism, waste collection and recycling.

Parish/Town Council
Parish council powers cover allotments; arts and entertainments; baths and wash houses; burial grounds; bus shelters; bye-laws; cemeteries and crematoria; charities; clocks; closed churchyards; commons; conference facilities; community centres and village halls; lighting; litter; parking places; parks and open spaces; playing fields and recreation grounds; ponds; planning; postal and telecommunication facilities; and public lavatories.

The scope of work for Parish and Town Councils is enormous and whilst they may not appear to as high profile as the County and District Councils, they can influence the issues that affect people in their immediate area and their day to day lives.

There are around 10,000 Community, Parish and Town Councils in England and Wales who have a powerful voice to represent the views of local people as the part of local government that is closest to them.

Some areas of responsibility overlap between the three tiers of local government, and in recent years there has been greater interest from all levels to work in partnership to increase efficiency and cut costs.