You are here:

House of Commons Library

Local authorities: the general power of competence

Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014

General power of competence in England: introduction, replacement of the well-being power, plus information about the 'LAML case' and the Bideford Town Council prayers case.

Jump to full report >>

The general power of competence is a new power available to local authorities in England to do “anything that individuals generally may do”. It was provided for in the Localism Act 2011 and replaces the well-being powers in the Local Government Act 2000. It was brought into force for local authorities on 18 February 2012.

The power extends to England only. Scottish and Welsh local authorities have a general ‘well-being’ power, equivalent to the one in the Local Government Act 2000. The Welsh Government plans to introduce a general power of competence for its local authorities. The Northern Ireland Executive did so in 2014.

This note gives information on the policy background to the new power, and looks at some of the issues relating to its introduction, including the ‘prayers case’ at Bideford Town Council and the ‘LAML case’ regarding the well-being power in the 2000 Act.

Commons Briefing papers SN05687

Author: Mark Sandford

Topic: Local government

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.