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LGA 1972 S111

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I have had many a debate about s137 and the power of last resort and seek to understand what PCs can spend money on. . Recently however I came across a clerk who regularly used LGA1972 s111 for expenditure that didn’t fit under the normal powers . S111 reads “a local authority shall have power to do anything (whether or not involving the expenditure, borrowing or lending of money or the acquisition or disposal of any property or rights) which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of their functions”. This comes under the heading of PC subsidiary powers.

What are subsidiary powers (are they somehow associated with  "full powers ")  and to what extent can this legislation be used ?

asked by (1.4k points)

1 Answer

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Section 111 is not the general catch-all many people assume it to be. The devil's in the detail. Breaking it down, it gives the council the power to do anything which:-

will facilitate the discharge of any of their functions; or

is conducive to the discharge of any of their functions; or

is incidental to the discharge of any of their functions.

In order to use this power, the council must first identify which of their functions the proposed expenditure relates to. In almost every case, if the expenditure relates to a function of the council, it will have a specific power to incur the expenditure, so Section 111 is not the appropriate power to use. Legitimate use of S111 by parish and town councils is extremely rare.

Your example of a clerk regularly using Section 111 for expenditure that didn't fit under the normal powers seems at odds with the legislation. If the council lacks the normal power to act, S111 will not provide it. If that were the case, Section 111, handed out freely to every council since 1972, would be of far greater value than the General Power of Competence and no council, councillor or clerk could ever be accused of acting ultra vires.

answered by (24.6k points)
I tend to agree with your thinking although your response does tell me what its not. not what it is.  If a power exists as it relates to a certain function then it is arguable that almost anything which has the remotest connection to it is allowable. It does make you wonder what was the envisaged purpose of this legislation  when written.
The power is available to all tiers of council and is more widely used by larger councils for joint ventures and some forms of income generation. The Localism Act mopped up some of the provisions at parish level previously linked to S111, but it's debatable whether or not a parish council has a specific power to fund training for their clerk, or pay the clerk's subscriptions to professional bodies, or to fund a parish plan, or promote environmental issues, so any of the above could be a legitimate S111 expense.

Having a general provision such as this allows the sector to move with the times and innovate, within the specified parameters. It provides the flexibility that has allowed the legislation to remain largely unchanged for almost 50 years, during which time our world has changed beyond all recognition.

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