The following Local Government practice note Produced in partnership with Philip McCourt provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): This Practice Note contains guidance on matters that have temporarily been altered to assist in the management of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For further information, see Practice Notes: Local authority meetings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and Coronavirus (COVID-19)—governance tracker.
Superficially, those elected to run a local authority will take decisions as they see fit, according to their electoral mandate, and those employed by the authority will take decisions to implement the elected members’ plan. However, this is overly simplistic. While much has been made of the ‘general power of competence’ given to local authorities, it remains the case that members are constrained in what they can do and those executives who run them or employees who work for them are even more so.
Local authorities are statutory corporations, created by Parliament as single legal entities, as described in Hazell v Hammersmith and Fulham:
‘local authority, although democratically elected and representative of the area, is not a sovereign body and can only do such things as are expressly or impliedly authorised by Parliament’.
There are many such statutory provisions, some of which provide an overall framework but most of which charge the authority with carrying out one among many, sometimes competing, functions of a council or local authority for a particular purpose.
When making a decision, each relevant statutory provisions and more general
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