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General Power of Competence

a drawing of a briefcase

The Town Council resolved from 20 May 2019, until the next relevant Annual Meeting of the Council, that having met the conditions of eligibility as defined in the Localism Act 2011 and SI 965 The Parish Councils (General Power of Competence)(Prescribed Conditions) Order 2012, to adopt the General Power of Competence.

Local Councils in England were given a General Power of Competence (GPC) in the Localism Act 2011, Sections 1-8 which means that Councils, once adopting the power, no longer need to ask whether they have a specific power to act.

The General Power of Competence Localism Act 2011 S1 (1) gives Local Authorities including … local councils “the power to do anything that individuals generally may do as long as they do not break any other laws”. It is a power of first resort. This means that when searching for a power to act, the first question to ask is whether you can use the General Power of Competence. To find the answer, you ask whether an individual is normally permitted to act in the same way.

Sometimes a Council can do things that an individual can’t do such as creating bylaws, raising a precept or issuing fixed penalty notices but it must do so using the specific original legislation.

The General Power of Competence does not mean the Council can delegate decisions to individual Councillors. This is a procedural matter that remains enshrined in law.

Please click below on the links to read more about the General Power of Competence: