|Category||Local authority districts|
|Found in||Non-metropolitan county|
|Created by||Local Government Act 1972|
|Number||226 (as of 2023)|
Non-metropolitan districts, or colloquially "shire districts", are a type of local government district in England. As created, they are sub-divisions of non-metropolitan counties (colloquially shire counties) in a two-tier arrangement. Non-metropolitan districts with borough status are known as boroughs, able to appoint a mayor and refer to itself as a borough council.
Typically a district will consist of a market town and its more rural hinterland. However districts are diverse with some being mostly urban such as Dartford, and others more polycentric such as Thurrock.
Non-metropolitan districts are subdivisions of English non-metropolitan counties which have a two-tier structure of local government.Two-tier non-metropolitan counties have a county council and several districts, each with a borough or district council. In these cases local government functions are divided between county and district councils, to the level where they can be practised most efficiently:
|Service||Non-metropolitan county||Non-metropolitan district||Unitary authority|
|Leisure and recreation|
Many districts have borough status, which means the local council is called a borough council instead of district council and gives them the right to appoint a mayor. Borough status is granted by royal charter and, in many cases, continues a style enjoyed by a predecessor authority, which can date back centuries. Some districts such as Oxford or Exeter have city status, granted by letters patent, but this does not give the local council any extra powers other than the right to call itself a city council.
By 1899, England had been divided at district level into rural districts, urban districts, municipal boroughs, county boroughs and metropolitan boroughs. This system was abolished by the London Government Act 1963 and the Local Government Act 1972. Non-metropolitan districts were created by this act in 1974 when England outside Greater London was divided into metropolitan counties and non-metropolitan counties. Metropolitan counties were sub-divided into metropolitan districts and the non-metropolitan counties were sub-divided into non-metropolitan districts. The metropolitan districts had more powers than their non-metropolitan counterparts. Initially, there were 296 non-metropolitan districts in the two-tier structure, but reforms in the 1990s and 2009 reduced their number to 192. A further 55 non-metropolitan districts are now unitary authorities, which combine the functions of county and borough/district councils.
In Wales, an almost identical two-tier system of local government existed between 1974 and 1996 (see Districts of Wales). In 1996, this was abolished and replaced with an entirely unitary system of local government, with one level of local government responsible for all local services. Since the areas for Wales and England had been enacted separately and there were no Welsh metropolitan areas, the term 'non-metropolitan district' does not apply to Wales. A similar system existed in Scotland, which in 1975 was divided into regions and districts, this was also abolished in 1996 and replaced with a fully unitary system.
In England most of the district councils are represented by the District Councils' Network,special interest group which sits within the Local Government Association. The network's purpose is to "act as an informed and representative advocate for districts to government and other national bodies, based on their unique position to deliver for local people."
This is a list of two-tier non-metropolitan counties and their districts. All unitary authorities are also non-metropolitan districts, which, with the exception of those of Berkshire, are coterminous with non-metropolitan counties.
For a full list of districts of all types including unitary authorities, metropolitan districts and London boroughs, see Districts of England.
|Non-metropolitan county |
(excluding unitary authorities)
|Non-metropolitan districts |
(excluding unitary authorities)
|Cambridgeshire||Cambridge – South Cambridgeshire – Huntingdonshire – Fenland – East Cambridgeshire||5|
|Derbyshire||High Peak – Derbyshire Dales – South Derbyshire – Erewash – Amber Valley – North East Derbyshire – Chesterfield – Bolsover||8|
|Devon||Exeter – East Devon – Mid Devon – North Devon – Torridge – West Devon – South Hams – Teignbridge||8|
|East Sussex||Hastings – Rother – Wealden – Eastbourne – Lewes||5|
|Essex||Harlow – Epping Forest – Brentwood – Basildon – Castle Point – Rochford – Maldon – Chelmsford – Uttlesford – Braintree – Colchester – Tendring||12|
|Gloucestershire||Gloucester – Tewkesbury – Cheltenham – Cotswold – Stroud – Forest of Dean||6|
|Hampshire||Gosport – Fareham – Winchester – Havant – East Hampshire – Hart – Rushmoor – Basingstoke and Deane – Test Valley – Eastleigh – New Forest||11|
|Hertfordshire||Three Rivers – Watford – Hertsmere – Welwyn Hatfield – Broxbourne – East Hertfordshire – Stevenage – North Hertfordshire – St Albans – Dacorum||10|
|Kent||Dartford – Gravesham – Sevenoaks – Tonbridge and Malling – Tunbridge Wells – Maidstone – Swale – Ashford – Folkestone and Hythe – Canterbury – Dover – Thanet||12|
|Lancashire||West Lancashire – Chorley – South Ribble – Fylde – Preston – Wyre – Lancaster – Ribble Valley – Pendle – Burnley – Rossendale – Hyndburn||12|
|Leicestershire||Charnwood – Melton – Harborough – Oadby and Wigston – Blaby – Hinckley and Bosworth – North West Leicestershire||7|
|Lincolnshire||Lincoln – North Kesteven – South Kesteven – South Holland – Boston – East Lindsey – West Lindsey||7|
|Norfolk||Norwich – South Norfolk – Great Yarmouth – Broadland – North Norfolk – King's Lynn and West Norfolk – Breckland||7|
|Nottinghamshire||Rushcliffe – Broxtowe – Ashfield – Gedling – Newark and Sherwood – Mansfield – Bassetlaw||7|
|Oxfordshire||Oxford – Cherwell – South Oxfordshire – Vale of White Horse – West Oxfordshire||5|
|Staffordshire||Tamworth – Lichfield – Cannock Chase – South Staffordshire – Stafford – Newcastle-under-Lyme – Staffordshire Moorlands – East Staffordshire||8|
|Suffolk||Ipswich – Babergh – East Suffolk – Mid Suffolk – West Suffolk||5|
|Surrey||Spelthorne – Runnymede – Surrey Heath – Woking – Elmbridge – Guildford – Waverley – Mole Valley – Epsom and Ewell – Reigate and Banstead – Tandridge||11|
|Warwickshire||North Warwickshire – Nuneaton and Bedworth – Rugby – Stratford-on-Avon – Warwick||5|
|West Sussex||Worthing – Arun – Chichester – Horsham – Crawley – Mid Sussex – Adur||7|
|Worcestershire||Worcester – Malvern Hills – Wyre Forest – Bromsgrove – Redditch – Wychavon||6|
This is a list of former two-tier districts in England which have been abolished, by local government reorganisations such as the 2009 structural changes to local government in England. It does not include districts that still exist after becoming a unitary authority or those that transferred from one county to another, including those that changed name. Nor does it include unitary authorities that have been abolished (Bournemouth and Poole).
|Non-metropolitan county (at time of abolition)||Abolished two-tier non-metropolitan districts||Number|
|Avon||Bath – Kingswood – Northavon – Wansdyke||4|
|Bedfordshire||Mid Bedfordshire – South Bedfordshire||2|
|Buckinghamshire||South Bucks – Chiltern – Wycombe – Aylesbury Vale||4|
|Cheshire||Chester – Congleton – Crewe and Nantwich – Ellesmere Port and Neston – Macclesfield – Vale Royal||6|
|Cornwall||Caradon – Carrick – Kerrier – North Cornwall – Penwith – Restormel||6|
|Cumbria||Barrow-in-Furness – South Lakeland – Copeland – Allerdale – Eden – Carlisle||6|
|Dorset||Weymouth and Portland – West Dorset – North Dorset – Purbeck – East Dorset – Christchurch||6|
|Durham||Durham – Easington – Sedgefield – Chester-le-Street – Derwentside – Wear Valley – Teesdale||7|
|East Sussex||Brighton – Hove||2|
|Hereford and Worcester||Hereford – Leominster – South Herefordshire||3|
|Humberside||East Yorkshire Borough of Beverley – Boothferry – Cleethorpes – East Yorkshire – Glanford – Great Grimsby – Holderness – Scunthorpe||8|
|Isle of Wight||Medina – South Wight||2|
|Kent||Gillingham – Rochester-upon-Medway||2|
|Northamptonshire||South Northamptonshire – Northampton – Daventry – Wellingborough – Kettering – Corby – East Northamptonshire||7|
|North Yorkshire||York – Selby – Harrogate – Craven – Richmondshire – Hambleton – Ryedale – Scarborough||8|
|Northumberland||Blyth Valley – Wansbeck – Castle Morpeth – Tynedale – Alnwick – Berwick-upon-Tweed||6|
|Shropshire||Bridgnorth – North Shropshire – Oswestry – Shrewsbury and Atcham – South Shropshire||5|
|Somerset||Taunton Deane – West Somerset – South Somerset – Somerset West and Taunton – Sedgemoor – Mendip||6|
|Suffolk||Forest Heath – St Edmundsbury – Suffolk Coastal – Waveney||4|
|Wiltshire||Kennet – North Wiltshire – Salisbury – West Wiltshire||4|
A unitary authority is a local authority responsible for all local government functions within its area or performing additional functions that elsewhere are usually performed by a higher level of sub-national government or the national government.
Metropolitan counties are a subdivision of England which were originally used for local government. There are six metropolitan counties: Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
The subdivisions of England constitute a hierarchy of administrative divisions and non-administrative ceremonial areas.
The districts of England are a level of subnational division of England used for the purposes of local government. As the structure of local government in England is not uniform, there are currently four principal types of district-level subdivision. There are a total of 294 districts made up of 36 metropolitan boroughs, 32 London boroughs, 164 two-tier non-metropolitan districts and 62 unitary authorities, as well as the City of London and Isles of Scilly which are also districts, but do not correspond to any of these categories. Some districts are styled as cities, boroughs or royal boroughs; these are purely honorific titles and do not alter the status of the district or the powers of their councils. All boroughs and cities are led by a mayor who in most cases is a ceremonial figure elected by the district council, but—after local government reform—is occasionally a directly elected mayor who makes most of the policy decisions instead of the council.
A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district in England. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, metropolitan boroughs are defined in English law as metropolitan districts within metropolitan counties. All of the metropolitan districts have been granted or regranted royal charters giving them borough status. Metropolitan boroughs have been effectively unitary authority areas since the abolition of metropolitan county councils by the Local Government Act 1985. Metropolitan boroughs pool much of their authority in joint boards and other arrangements that cover whole metropolitan counties, such as city regions or combined authorities, with most of the latter having a metro mayor.
The counties of England are areas used for different purposes, which include administrative, geographical, cultural and political demarcation. The term "county" is defined in several ways and can apply to similar or the same areas used by each of these demarcation structures. These different types of county each have a more formal name but are commonly referred to as just "counties". The current arrangement is the result of incremental reform.
County borough is a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to refer to a borough or a city independent of county council control, similar to the unitary authorities created since the 1990s. An equivalent term used in Scotland was a county of city. They were abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 in England and Wales, but continue in use for lieutenancy and shrievalty in Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland they remain in existence but have been renamed cities under the provisions of the Local Government Act 2001. The Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 re-introduced the term for certain "principal areas" in Wales. Scotland did not have county boroughs but instead had counties of cities. These were abolished on 16 May 1975. All four Scottish cities of the time—Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow—were included in this category. There was an additional category of large burgh in the Scottish system, which were responsible for all services apart from police, education and fire.
Local government in England broadly consists of three layers: civil parishes, local authorities, and regional authorities. Every part of England is governed by at least one local authority, but parish councils and regional authorities do not exist everywhere. The last comprehensive reform of English local government took place in 1974; since then various piecemeal reforms have taken place, meaning local government is not standardised across the country.
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.
The Local Government Act 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that reformed local government in England and Wales on 1 April 1974. It was one of the most significant Acts of Parliament to be passed by the Heath Government of 1970–74.
A non-metropolitan county, or colloquially, shire county, is a subdivision of England used for local government.
The structure of local government in the United Kingdom underwent large changes in the 1990s. The system of two-tier local government introduced in the 1970s by the Local Government Act 1972 and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 was abolished in Scotland and Wales on 1 April 1996 and replaced with single-tier authorities. In England, some areas remained two-tier but many single-tier authorities were created. No changes were made to local government in Northern Ireland.
The Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which amended the Local Government Act 1972 to create the current local government structure in Wales of 22 unitary authority areas, referred to as principal areas in the Act, and abolished the previous two-tier structure of counties and districts. It came into effect on 1 April 1996.
The counties of the United Kingdom are subnational divisions of the United Kingdom, used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. The older term, shire is historically equivalent to county. By the Middle Ages, county had become established as the unit of local government, at least in England. By the early 17th century, all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland had been separated into counties. In Scotland shire was the only term used until after the Act of Union 1707.
Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties are one of the four levels of subdivisions of England used for the purposes of local government outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. As originally constituted, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties each consisted of multiple districts, had a county council and were also the counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies. Later changes in legislation during the 1980s and 1990s have resulted in counties with no county council and 'unitary authority' counties with no districts. Counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies are now defined separately, based on the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.
The unitary authorities of England are those local authorities which are responsible for the provision of all local government services within a district. They are constituted under the Local Government Act 1992, which amended the Local Government Act 1972 to allow the existence of counties that do not have multiple districts. They typically allow large towns to have separate local authorities from the less urbanised parts of their counties and originally provided a single authority for small counties where division into districts would be impractical. However, the UK government has more recently created much larger unitary authority areas, including a single authority for North Yorkshire, the largest non-metropolitan county in England, previously divided into seven districts.
The history of local government in England is one of gradual change and evolution since the Middle Ages. England has never possessed a formal written constitution, with the result that modern administration is based on precedent, and is derived from administrative powers granted to older systems, such as that of the shires.
Nottinghamshire County Council is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Nottinghamshire in England. It consists of 66 county councillors, elected from 56 electoral divisions every four years. The most recent election was held in 2021.
The history of local government in Wales in a recognisably modern form emerged during the late 19th century. Administrative counties and county boroughs were first established in Wales in 1889. Urban and rural districts were formed in 1894. These were replaced in 1974 by a two-tier authority system across the country comprising eight counties and, within them, thirty-seven districts. This system was itself replaced by the introduction of 22 single-tier authorities in 1996.
Northampton Borough Council was the borough council and non-metropolitan district responsible for local government in the large town of Northampton in England. In 2021 the council was abolished and succeeded by West Northamptonshire Council; a unitary authority, and the Northampton Town Council, a parish council.