Local government in England broadly consists of three layers: regional authorities, local authorities and parish councils. Legislation concerning English local government is passed by Parliament, as England does not have a devolved parliament.
This article does not cover the 31 police and crime commissioners or the four police, fire and crime commissioners of England. 
The Greater London Authority Act 1999 established a Mayor of London and 25-member London Assembly.  The first mayoral and assembly elections took place in 2000.  The former Leader of the Greater London Council, Ken Livingstone, served as the inaugural Mayor, until he was defeated by future Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2008.  The incumbent, Sadiq Khan, was first elected in 2016. 
The Mayor's functions include chairing Transport for London,  holding the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Commissioner to account  and keeping strategies up to date, including the London Plan.  Meanwhile, it is the Assembly's role to regularly hold the Mayor and their key advisers to account and it can also amend the budget or a strategy by a two-thirds majority, though this has not ever happened as of March 2022. 
Combined authorities can be created at the request of two or more local authorities.  Combined authorities don't replace the local authorities in question, but can receive separate functions and funding.  As of May 2022, there are 10 combined authorities covering some of England.  The Secretary of State was first granted the power to create combined authorities by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. 
The Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 gave the Secretary of State the power to provide for a directly-elected combined authority mayor.  And, as of May 2022, nine out of the 10 combined authorities have mayors, including Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester and Andy Street in the West Midlands. 
Each combined authority's executive consists of a representative from each of its constituent local authorities, plus (if applicable) the mayor.  Functions can be devolved directly to the mayor, the combined authority as a whole or have a different decision-making requirement.  The budget and functions of each combined authority can be vastly different, but possible functions include responsibility for the relevant police force and/or fire brigade, bus franchising and spatial strategy. 
Combined county authorities are a new type of local government body included in the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.  They will only be made up of upper-tier local authorities; every type of local authority discussed below apart from district councils. 
There are 333 local authorities covering the whole of England.  There are four main types of local authorities: London borough councils, two-tier county and district councils, metropolitan district councils and unitary authorities.  Some local authorities have borough, city or royal borough status, but this is purely stylistic. 
All local authorities are made up of councillors, who represent geographical wards.  There are 7,026 wards as of December 2021.  Local authorities run on four year cycles and councillors may be elected all at once, by halves or by thirds.  Local authorities have a choice of executive arrangements under the Local Government Act 2000: mayor and cabinet executive, leader and cabinet executive, a committee system or bespoke arrangements approved by the Secretary of State.  As of May 2022, just 16 local authorities have directly-elected mayors.  Some functions are just the responsibility of the executive of a local authority,  but local authorities must also have at least one overview and scrutiny committee to hold the executive to account. 
The London Government Act 1963 established 32 London borough councils.  It also established the Greater London Council, covering the whole of Greater London,  but this was later abolished by the Local Government Act 1985.  Greater London also includes the sui generis City of London Corporation.  The other sui generis local authorities are the Council of the Isles of Scilly,  Middle Temple and Inner Temple. 
Outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly, the Local Government Act 1972 divided England into metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties, which would have one county council and multiple district councils each.  That meant that each area would be covered by both a county council and a district council, which would share local authority functions; two tiers of local authorities.  In May 2022, 24 non-metropolitan county councils and 181 non-metropolitan district councils remain.  These are better known as simply county councils and district councils. The Local Government Act 1985 also abolished metropolitan county councils,  but there are still 36 metropolitan district councils as of May 2022. 
There are also (as of May 2022) 58 unitary authorities.  These carry out the functions of both county and district councils and have replaced two-tier local government in some areas.  The creation of these first became possible under the Local Government Act 1992,  but now takes place under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. 
Specific functions of local authorities include maintaining some highways,  granting planning permission  and acting as a billing authority for the purposes of council tax.  Separate to combined authorities, two or more local authorities can also work together through joint boards (for legally-required services: fire, public transport and waste disposal), joint committees (voluntarily) or through contracting out and agency arrangements.  Notably, Cornwall Council has been subject to a devolution deal, which are usually reserved to combined authorities for additional functions and funding.  And, like some combined authorities and parish councils, they do have a general power of competence. 
Parish councils form the lowest tier of local government. They can also resolve to call themselves a community council, a neighbourhood council, a village council,  a town council  or (if city status is granted) a city council,  but this is purely stylistic. Parish councillors sit on parish councils. 
As of December 2021, there are 10,475 parishes in England, but they do not cover the whole of the country (notably including the vast majority of Greater London). 
The only specific statutory function of parish councils, which they must do, is establishing allotments. However, there are a number of other functions given by powers in the relevant legislation, which they can do, such as providing litter bins and building bus shelters.  Their statutory functions are few, but they may provide other services with the agreement of the relevant local authorities,  and under the Localism Act 2011 eligible parish councils can be granted a "general power of competence" (GPC) which allows them within certain limits the freedom to do anything an individual can do provided it is not prohibited by other legislation, as opposed to being limited to the powers explicitly granted to them by law.  To be eligible for this a parish council must meet certain conditions of quality. 
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Local councils are funded by a combination of central government grants, Council Tax (a locally set tax based on house value), Business Rates, and fees and charges from certain services including decriminalised parking enforcement. Up to 15 English councils risk insolvency, the National Audit Office maintains, and councils increasingly offer, "bare minimum" service.  The New Local Government Network maintains most local authorities will only be able to provide the bare minimum of services five years from 2018. 
Many of these funding sources are hypothecated (ring-fenced) - meaning that they can only be spent in a very specific manner - in essence, they merely pass through a council's accounts on their way from the funding source to their intended destination. These include:
The other main central government grant - the Revenue Support Grant - is not hypothecated, and can be spent as the council wishes. For many decades, Business Rates were gathered locally, pooled together nationally, and then redistributed according to a complicated formula; these would be combined with the Revenue Support Grant to form a single Formula Grant to the council. Since 2013, a varyingly sized chunk of Business Rates is retained locally, and only the remainder is pooled and redistributed; the redistribution is according to a very basic formula, based mainly on the size of the 2013 Formula Grant to the relevant council, and is now provided to the council independently of the Revenue Support Grant.
When determining their budget arrangements, councils make a distinction between hypothecated funding and non-hypothecated funding. Consideration of all funding in general is referred to as gross revenue streams, while net revenue streams refers to funding from only non-hypothecated sources.
Historically, central government retained the right to cap an increase in Council Tax, if it deemed the council to be increasing it too severely.  Under the Cameron–Clegg coalition, this was changed. Councils can raise the level of council tax as they wish, but must hold a local referendum on the matter, if they wish to raise it above a certain threshold set by central government, currently 3%. 
Council Tax is collected by the principal council that has the functions of a district-level authority. It is identified in legislation as a billing authority, and was known as a rating authority. There are 314 billing authorities in England that collect council tax and business rates:   
Precepting authorities do not collect Council Tax directly, but instruct a billing authority to do it on their behalf by setting a precept. Major precepting authorities such as the Greater London Authority and county councils cover areas that are larger than billing authorities. Local precepting authorities such as parish councils cover areas that are smaller than billing authorities. 
The precept shows up as an independent element on official information sent to council tax payers, but the council bill will cover the combined amount (the precepts plus the core council tax). The billing authority collects the whole amount, and then detaches the precept and funnels it to the relevant precepting authority.
Levying bodies are similar to precepting authorities, but instead of imposing a charge on billing authorities, the amount to be deducted is decided by negotiation. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is an example of a levying body. Voluntary joint arrangements, such as waste authorities are also in this category.
Aggregate External Finance (AEF) refers to the total amount of money given by central government to local government. It consists of the Revenue Support Grant (RSG), ringfenced and other specific grants, and redistributed business rates. A portion of the RSG money paid to each authority is diverted to fund organisations that provide improvement and research services to local government (this is referred to as the RSG top-slice), for example the Local Government Association. 
The subdivisions of England constitute a hierarchy of administrative divisions and non-administrative ceremonial areas.
Parish councils are civil local authorities found in England which are the lowest tier of local government. They are elected corporate bodies, with variable tax raising powers, and they carry out beneficial public activities in geographical areas known as civil parishes. There are about 9,000 parish and town councils in England, and over 16 million people live in communities served by them. Parish councils may be known by different styles, they may resolve to call themselves a town council, village council, community council, neighbourhood council, or if the parish has city status, it may call itself a city council. However their powers and duties are the same whatever name they carry.
Referendums in the United Kingdom are occasionally held at a national, regional or local level. Historically, national referendums are rare due to the long-standing principle of parliamentary sovereignty. There is no constitutional requirement to hold a national referendum for any purpose or on any issue; the UK Parliament is free to legislate through an Act of Parliament for a national plebiscite to be held on any question at any time, but these cannot be constitutionally binding on either the Government or Parliament, although they usually have a persuasive political effect.
Directly elected Mayors or Leaders in England and Wales, informally known as Metro Mayors or Leaders, are local government executive leaders who are directly elected by the residents of a local authority area. Examples of metro mayors include the Mayor of London, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, with the first County Leaders to be elected in Norfolk and Suffolk in 2024.
Hackney London Borough Council is the local government authority for the London Borough of Hackney, London, England, one of 32 London borough councils. The council is unusual in the United Kingdom local government system in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Hackney, currently Philip Glanville of the Labour Party. Hackney comprises 19 wards, each electing three councillors. Following the May 2018 election, Hackney London Borough Council consists of 52 Labour Party councillors and 5 Conservative Party councillors. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 whereby it replaced three local authorities: Hackney Metropolitan Borough Council, Shoreditch Metropolitan Borough Council and Stoke Newington Metropolitan Borough Council.
Newham London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Newham. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. The council is unusual in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Newham, currently Rokhsana Fiaz. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced four local authorities: East Ham Borough Council, West Ham Borough Council, Barking Borough Council and Woolwich Metropolitan Borough Council.
Islington London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Islington in Greater London, England. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced two local authorities: Finsbury Metropolitan Borough Council and Islington Metropolitan Borough Council.
Barking and Dagenham London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. It provides a broad range of local government services including Council Tax billing, libraries, social services, processing planning applications, waste collection and disposal, and it is a local education authority. Barking and Dagenham is divided into 17 wards, each electing three councillors. At the May 2022 election, the Labour Party won all 51 seats, for the fourth election in a row. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 as the Barking London Borough Council and replaced two local authorities: Barking Borough Council and Dagenham Borough Council. The council was renamed on 1 January 1980. The next election to the authority will be in 2026.
Tower Hamlets London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in Greater London, England. The council is unusual in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, currently Lutfur Rahman.
A combined authority is a type of local government institution introduced in England outside Greater London by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. Combined authorities are created voluntarily and allow a group of local authorities to pool appropriate responsibility and receive certain delegated functions from central government in order to deliver transport and economic policy more effectively over a wider area.
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is a combined authority for Greater Manchester, England. It was established on 1 April 2011 and consists of 11 members; 10 indirectly elected members, each a directly elected councillor from one of the ten metropolitan boroughs that comprise Greater Manchester together with the directly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester. The authority derives most of its powers from the Local Government Act 2000 and Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, and replaced a range of single-purpose joint boards and quangos to provide a formal administrative authority for Greater Manchester for the first time since the abolition of the Greater Manchester County Council in 1986.
Lewisham London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Lewisham in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. The council is unusual in that its executive function is controlled by a directly elected mayor of Lewisham, currently Damien Egan. Lewisham is divided into 19 wards, each electing two or three councillors. There are currently 16 three member wards and 3 two member wards. Following the May 2018 election, Lewisham London Borough Council comprises 54 Labour Party councillors. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced two local authorities: Deptford Metropolitan Borough Council and Lewisham Metropolitan Borough Council.
Greenwich London Borough Council is the local authority for the Royal Borough of Greenwich in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. Greenwich is divided into 23 wards, electing a total of 55 councillors. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 and replaced two local authorities: Greenwich Metropolitan Borough Council and Woolwich Metropolitan Borough Council. The council meets in Woolwich Town Hall.
The Localism Act 2011 is an Act of Parliament that changes the powers of local government in England. The aim of the act is to facilitate the devolution of decision-making powers from central government control to individuals and communities. The measures affected by the Act include an increase in the number of elected mayors, referendums and the "Local authority’s general power of competence" which states "A local authority has power to do anything that individuals generally may do".
Wandsworth London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Wandsworth in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. Wandsworth is divided into 20 wards, each electing three councillors. After the May 2022 election, 35 of these councillors were Labour and 22 were Conservatives, with 1 independent. The Conservatives had an overall majority on the council since 1978, until Labour won control in the 2022 election.
Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. Hammersmith and Fulham is divided into 21 wards, electing a total of 50 councillors. The council was created by the London Government Act 1963 as the Hammersmith London Borough Council and replaced two local authorities: Hammersmith Metropolitan Borough Council and Fulham Metropolitan Borough Council. The council was renamed on 1 January 1980.
Harrow London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Harrow in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London. It is currently controlled by the Conservative Party with 31 seats. The Labour Party is the sole opposition, with 24 seats.
Southwark London Borough Council is the local authority for the London Borough of Southwark in Greater London, England. It is a London borough council, one of 32 in the United Kingdom capital of London.
The Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom designed to introduce directly elected mayors to combined local authorities in England and Wales and to devolve housing, transport, planning and policing powers to them. The bill was introduced to the House of Lords by Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on 28 May 2015.
The Mayor of West Yorkshire is a directly elected mayor responsible for the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire in England. The Mayor chairs and leads the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and assumes the office and powers of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.