Local authority powers to participate in external organisations

The following Local Government practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Local authority powers to participate in external organisations
  • The general power of competence
  • Commercial activities and trading powers
  • Working in partnership with the NHS
  • Constraints
  • Public procurement
  • Distortive state subsidies
  • Governance arrangements

Local authority powers to participate in external organisations

Collaborating with external organisations is not a new concept in local government. In recent years, it has become increasingly necessary for local authorities to engage in a wide variety of different partnership arrangements. It is difficult to summarise these succinctly but they include the following:

  1. The Commissioning Council—where a local authority discharges most of its functions through external organisations

  2. Strategic Partnerships—where the local authority enters into an arrangement with an external provider to deliver certain prescribed functions, usually referred to as 'back-office functions'

  3. Local Enterprise Partnerships—where local authorities and businesses work together to decide what the priorities are in the area for infrastructure

  4. Shared Services—where two or more local authorities collaborate to deliver functions jointly

  5. Combined authorities—where the Secretary of State makes formal arrangements by way of regulations under section 16 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016, to establish formal regional devolution arrangements

  6. Health and Wellbeing boards—where the intention is in advancing the health and wellbeing of the people in its area, encourage persons who arrange for the provision of any health or social care services in that area to work in an integrated manner. See Practice Note: Local authority strategic functions in relation to health and social care services—Local authority’s duty to establish and operate Health and Wellbeing Boards

  7. local healthwatch organisations—a patient

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