The law gives local councils choice in activities to undertake; but surprisingly there are very few duties, or activities that they must carry out in delivering services to local people. Exceptions are that a council must:
- comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010
- comply with employment law
- consider the impact of their decisions on reducing crime and disorder in their area
- have regard to the protection of biodiversity in carrying out their functions
- consider the provision of allotments if there is demand for them from local residents and it is reasonable to do so
- decide whether to adopt a churchyard when it is closed, if asked to do so by the Parochial Church Council.
Your local council also has a duty to ensure that all the rules for the administration of the council are followed. The council must:
- appoint a chairman of the council
- appoint officers as appropriate for carrying out its functions
- appoint a responsible financial officer (RFO) to manage the council’s financial affairs; the RFO is often the clerk, especially in smaller councils
- appoint an independent and competent internal auditor (see below)
- adopt a Code of Conduct (see below)
- hold a minimum number of four meetings per year, one of which must be the Annual Meeting of the Council (see below).
These rules are set out in law to guide the procedures of the council and your council can add its own regulations. Together these rules make up standing orders as formally agreed by your council.