Local government powers and functions
Councils have a wide range of powers and duties. These include direct, representative and consultative functions.
Powers and duties
All Northern Ireland councils work within the powers conferred (bestowed) on them by various pieces of legislation. They also have certain added ceremonial functions. For example, they can confer freedom of the city or borough on distinguished people.
District council functions can be divided into three areas:
Direct functions enable councils to provide a wide range of public services in areas such as:
- environmental health
- waste management
- street cleansing
- economic development
- consumer protection
- the enforcement of building regulations
- litter prevention
- provision of cemeteries
- the issuing of miscellaneous licences
- dog control
Representative functions permit councils to nominate representatives to sit as members of various statutory bodies established to administer regional services such as:
- education and library services
- health and social services
- drainage services
- fire protection
Consultative functions allow councils to represent the views of their population on the way in which regional services are operated throughout each district. This consultative role covers functions such as:
These are centrally administered but where there is an obligation - either by statute or by voluntary agreement - district councils will be consulted about proposals affecting their area.
Find your local council
You can find out more about your local authority and the services it provides from its website.