Local Government

Nick Drewe
Flashcards by Nick Drewe, updated more than 1 year ago
Nick Drewe
Created by Nick Drewe over 5 years ago


The required information for an A2 Public Affairs Local Government examination.

Resource summary

Question Answer
The majority party in a local election is called? 'The Authority'
What are the three single tier structures? Unitary Authority Cosmopolitan Authority London Borough
What does a two tier local government consist of? County Council District Council (sometimes) Parish Council
How many London Boroughs are there? 32
How many elected councils are in a single tier system? One all-purpose elected council
What services does a unitary council cover (name five) Education, highways, transport planning, social care, housing, libraries, leisure and recreation, environmental health, waste collection, waste disposal, planning applications, strategic planning and local tax collection
What is the name of London's separate government? The Greater London Authority (GLA)
What public services are the county council in charge of providing and monitoring? (name 5) Education, highways, transport planning, social care, libraries, waste disposal and strategic planning.
What localised services are the district council in charge of providing and monitoring? (name 5) Housing, leisure and recreation, environmental health, waste collection, planning applications and local tax collection.
What political problems do two tier councils encounter? The county and district councils are elected separately so may be two different parties. They still have to work together.
What are town / parish councils responsible for? Parks, community centres, allotments, war memorials
What are the +/- of a two tier system? + Closer link to the people so can provide them with what they need. - Overlapping of services confuses public as to where accountability lies.
What are the +/- of a unitary system? + No overlap of services makes for clear accountability and more cost effectiveness. - Remote from the community, do not know what the people need as much.
Who aids the Members of the Council in their decisions? The Officers
What is the role of an Officer? An officer is appointed as an occupation to advise councillors in their decisions without political affiliation. They are experts in their departmental field (like finance or planning).
What is a council department director? The most senior officer. They are not councillors; they do all the leg work for the officers.
What are the three job roles of a councillor? Politician - works for positive social change and public service. Representative of ward - one of three councillors per ward to speak for their people. Board member - share responsibility with the rest of the council for actions.
Name a third party that inspects local government Ofsted
What information does a council have to disclose? - Performance data - Accounts - Spending on goods / services >£500 - Senior salaries, names, jobs, allowances
What allowances do councillors receive? - Basic Allowance - Special Responsibility Allowance - Dependents & Child Care Allowance - Travel & Subsistence
What does a Basic Allowance cover and how is it set? Costs incurred during constituency duties, attending and preparing for related meetings, political group meetings' costs, telephone, postage and travelling costs. It's a flat rate annual amount.
What does a Special Responsibility Allowance cover and how is it set? For councillors who hold greater responsibility, have the heaviest workloads and are in leading roles. The allowance varies depending on the level of responsibility.
What does a Dependents & Childcare Allowance cover? For councillors who have to pay for care for dependents or children so as to be able to attend to council business.
What does a Travel & Subsistence Allowance cover and how is it set? Covers all travel to associated council business, including food (people may travel from work to fulfil council obligations). Authorities set their own levels of allowance.
What is the Independent Remuneration Panel and what flaws are there with it? Independent, non-council individuals who review and adjudicate and allowance based changes by the council. The council ultimately has the final say, so can simply ignore any objections by the IRP.
In what instances can you not stand as a councillor? If you are bankrupt, have been to prison in the last 5 years or are employed by the council already.
Financially, what is a council's Capital fund? Money for building infrastructure - roads, schools, housing, offices etc. These projects last more than a year.
Financially, what is a council's Revenue fund? Money needed to maintain and operate Capital projects - staffing, lighting, heating etc. These are short term spends that are on an annual basis, not permanent.
Where does a council's Revenue money come from? The council's income: - Grants from central government - Locally raised taxes - Rents, fees and charges from local services - 'balances & reserves'
What kinds of Revenue grants are there? General Revenue Support Grants (RSGs) National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDRs) Specific Police Grant Dedicated Schools Grant
What are the two types of taxes given to a council's electorate? Council Tax (for domestic use properties) NNDR (for business use properties)
What groups are applicable for a council tax reduction or exemption? Single Occupant DISCOUNT Disability DISCOUNT Carers & Full-time Students EXEMPTION
Explain Council Tax Banding Categorising amount of council tax based on notional value. There are 8 bands, from A - H, the latter being the most expensive. Band D is used as a council tax marker as it is the average band.
What is the difference between a billing and a precepting authority when describing a council? A billing authority sends its bills straight to households. A precepting authority instructs the billing authority to collect an amount from council tax on its behalf such as the county council or the police authority.
Explain Council Tax Capping Central Government cap council tax increases to stop councils from over-taxing their electorate. Any changes over +2% will require a referendum to gain support from the electorate.
Give examples of how a local authority can further charge for their provided services Car parking fines Library fines Trade refuse collection Leisure services use
What is a capital receipt and what restrictions are there on it? The selling of an asset (usually land) The money must be spent on other capital projects. A reserve must be kept from the sale to pay off any existing debts.
When can Capital money become Revenue money? When the money comes as interest from an investment. The interest received is considered Revenue money.
How and where do councils borrow money for Capital schemes? They only borrow money they can definitely afford to pay back. This is called a Prudential Framework, which uses Prudential Indicators in budget setting to calculate. Councils mainly borrow from the government financed Public Works Loans Board.
How does Revenue money relate to Capital borrowing? The interest the council has to pay for borrowed money comes out of the Revenue funds, NOT the Capital funds.
Explain PFI and PPP A Public Finance Initiative is a way of funding public infrastructure with private capital. A private company finances the project, thus owning it. The council buy it back over a long-term lease. This is known as a Public Private Partnership.
What saying is given to the banned selling of capital items for revenue money? "Selling off the family silver"
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