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Unitary authorities

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Community and town councils are the grassroots level of local governance in Wales.
Our vision for identifying, developing and delivery of services is built on promoting openness, partnership and participation.

There are 22 unitary authorities (county and county borough councils) that deliver a wide range of services.

Some, for example education, must be made available under UK and Welsh law; others are provided at the discretion of individual authorities. Typical services include:

  • trading standards 
  • libraries, leisure and tourism 
  • environmental health, refuse and recycling 
  • transport and highways 
  • housing 
  • social services.

All local authorities are democratically accountable through elections held every 4 years. They have a cabinet-style executive with the dominant political group or coalition making decisions under the scrutiny of the council as a whole.

The 22 unitary authorities are (external links):

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
Bridgend County Borough Council
Caerphilly County Borough Council
Cardiff Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Ceredigion County Council
Conwy County Borough Council
Denbighshire County Council
Flintshire County Council
Gwynedd Council
Isle of Anglesey County Council
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
Monmouthshire County Council
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
Newport City Council
Pembrokeshire County Council
Powys County Council
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
City and County of Swansea
Torfaen County Borough Council
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Wrexham County Borough Council

Local authority funding and policy

We provide around 80% of unitary authority revenue funding, whilst council tax makes up most of the remainder.

We set the broad policy agenda for local authorities in Wales, but do not  use our powers to control how they operate. Our work with local authorities is firmly on the basis of partnership. Local authorities also work in close partnership with other bodies, such as the NHS and the police.

All of the unitary authorities are members of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA). The WLGA represents their collective views and interests and advises and supports individual authorities. We fund some WLGA projects, such as its work on equality and service improvement.