Delegations - General Information
Councils have certain duties that they must perform, and certain powers which they may exercise, pursuant to the Local Government Act 1999 as well as a range of other Acts. In most cases the relevant Acts grant those obligations and powers directly on the Council as a body. It is not practical or efficient for the Council as a body of elected members to perform the many functions or undertake the many activities that are required in the day to day administration of the Council's roles and functions. Delegations are the way in which the Council enables other people/bodies (usually Council officers) to undertake these steps on its behalf. Therefore it is necessary for the Council to take formal steps to delegate to such people/bodies the authority to make decisions, perform functions or undertake activities on behalf of the Council.
If the delegations are not done properly, the enforceability of decisions and actions taken may be compromised and there may be legal and administrative problems for the Council.
As a matter of best practice it is usual for delegations to be made by the Council to the Chief Executive Officer. Once the delegations to the Chief Executive Officer have been made, it is appropriate for the Chief Executive Officer to make sub delegations to the relevant Council officers.
Legislative Requirements Relating To Delegations
Section 44 of the Local Government Act 1999 provides that the Council may delegate a power or function vested or conferred under this or another Act. Some other Acts also contain a specific power of delegation. Delegations made by the Council under Section 44 of the Local Government Act 1999 can be made to a Council committee, a subsidiary of the Council, an employee of the Council, the employee of the Council for the time being occupying a particular office or position or, an authorised person. Other Acts may specify different delegates than the Local Government Act 1999. A delegation made pursuant to Section 44 of the Local Government Act 1999 is revocable at will and does not prevent the Council from acting in a matter.
Pursuant to Section 44(3) of the Local Government Act 1999 there are a number of matters which Councils cannot delegate. They include the following:
power to make a by-law;
Section 44 of the Local Government Act 1999 sets out various other matters in relation to delegations. For example:
- Section 44(6) provides that the Council must cause a separate record to be kept of all delegations made under Section 44, and should at least once in every financial year review the delegations for the time being in force under Section 44;
- Section 44(7) provides that a person is entitled to inspect (without charge) the record of delegations under Section 44(6) at the principal office of the Council during ordinary office hours.
Section 101 of the Local Government Act 1999 provides that the Chief Executive Officer may delegate (or sub-delegate) a power or function vested or conferred in or on the Chief Executive Officer under the Local Government Act 1999. Section 101 sets out various other matters in relation to delegations (or sub-delegations) by the Chief Executive Officer. A delegation by the Chief Executive Officer made under Section 101 of the Local Government Act 1999 may be made to an employee of the Council, or to the employee for the time being occupying a particular office or position, a committee comprising employees of the Council, or an authorised person.