As with other aspects of local government in the UK it is misleading to offer too many generalisations but for most county local authorities their primary services are around social care, both adults and children’s services.
The inter-relationship with education for children’s services comprises certain residual responsibilities, especially around safeguarding (the protection of children from harm) although schools themselves are largely independent from the control of local authorities. This together with ‘adults services’ are the most challenging services to provide and each have strong inter-relationships with other state agencies such as the National Health Service (NHS).
For many county authorities (and indeed Metropolitan and Unitary councils that also share these responsibilities) the consumption of financial and human resources are immense when compared to other services. Most county councils (and other Metropolitan and Unitary councils) will spend roughly half of their total budgets on these services with continued upward pressure to consume more.
In addition, County Councils have certain responsibilities for
- property assets,
- libraries and
- other regulatory services related to
- strategic special planning and
- protection from unfair trading.