One of the things we often overlook, is that there is a series of different local, regional and central government authorities to which anyone eligible can be elected as a member, which have responsibility for different parts and areas of government delivery.
Once you begin campaigning, you will quickly understand that many voters do not understand the structure of government and where responsibility for different public services is held. It can be confusing for many reasons and this is why it is important to understand a.) what the authority you wish to be elected to itself does, and b.) what all the other authorities do – as you may quickly find yourself needing to contact them.
The different authorities are known as the Tiers of Government, because they overlap, literally on top of each other in the same geographical area.
It is currently possible for a voter to have a different elected representatives representing them at up to 5 or 6 different levels, depending upon the local structure of government and where the responsibilities for any specific geographical areas lie.
The Tiers of Government are:
- Parish & Town Councils
- Borough & District Councils (District Level Authorities)
- County Councils
- Unitary Authorities (an amalgamation of the responsibilities of 1 and/or 2 & 3)
- City & Regional Mayors
- Parliament (The Westminster Parliament, headed by The Prime Minister)
- The European Parliament