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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT, 2001
The Local Government Service
The Elected Council
Policy role of elected council.
130. —It is a function of the elected council of a local authority to determine by resolution the policy of the local authority subject to and in accordance with this Act and the other enactments relating to that authority.
131. —(1) (a) The elected council of a local authority or the members of a joint body shall directly exercise and perform by resolution at a meeting of the local authority or body every function to which this section applies.
(b) The functions referred to in paragraph (a) shall be known as reserved functions of a local authority or of a joint body, as the case may be, and in this Act are referred to as “reserved functions”.
(2) This section applies to every function—
(a) designated as a reserved function by any provision of this Act (including a designation by order under subsection (3)) or as specified in Schedule 14;
(b) designated as a reserved function by any provision of any other enactment relating to a local authority or joint body;
(c) expressly made exercisable by resolution under this Act or under any other enactment relating to a local authority or joint body which was enacted after the 13th day of June, 1940.
(3) (a) The Minister may by order designate a specified function of local authorities or joint bodies to be a reserved function and for so long as an order is in force the function is a reserved function.
(b) Any order made under subsection (2) of section 41 of the Local Government Act, 1991 , or continued in force by subsection (5) of that section shall continue in force as if made under this subsection and may be amended or revoked accordingly.
(4) Any reference to a reserved function in respect of a local authority or joint body in any enactment enacted before the commencement of this provision or to a function exercisable by resolution to which subsection (2)(c) applies shall be read as a reference to a reserved function for the purposes of this Act.
(5) For the purposes of this section “function” does not include a function relating to the employees of a local authority or joint body or the direction, supervision, service, remuneration or discipline of such employees or any of them, other than a function referred to in section 145 (1).
Reserved functions: duty of manager.
132. —(1) It is the duty of every manager to carry into effect all lawful directions of the elected council of a local authority or a joint body for which he or she is manager in relation to the exercise and performance of the reserved functions of the local authority or joint body.
(2) (a) Where in relation to the exercise or performance of a reserved function a legal opinion was obtained by a local authority or joint body, the elected council or joint body may, without prejudice to section 153 , by resolution direct that a second such opinion be obtained by the authority.
(b) Nothing in this subsection shall prejudice a local authority or joint body in carrying out any function which the authority or body is required by or under statute or by order of a court to duly carry out.
(3) It is the duty of every manager to advise and assist the elected council of a local authority or a joint body for which he or she is manager—
(a) generally as regards the exercise or performance by the council or body of its reserved functions, and
(b) as regards any particular matter or thing in relation to such exercise or performance on or in respect of which the council or body requests the advice or assistance of the manager,
and that council or body shall have regard to that advice or assistance.
Corporate policy group.
133. —(1) The elected council of every county council and city council shall form a committee, to be known as the corporate policy group, which shall consist of the Cathaoirleach and the chairpersons of the strategic policy committees, and which in this section is referred to as the “policy group” and which shall be chaired by the Cathaoirleach.
(2) (a) The policy group may advise and assist the elected council in the formulation, development, monitoring and review of policy for the local authority and for that purpose propose arrangements for the consideration of policy matters and the organisation of related business by the elected council.
(b) The policy group may make proposals for the allocation of business as between strategic policy committees and for the general co-ordination of such business.
(c) Nothing in this subsection prevents the submission of a report by a strategic policy committee directly to the elected council.
(3) The manager shall prepare the corporate plan for the local authority in consultation with the policy group in accordance with section 134 .
(4) (a) The manager shall consult the policy group in the preparation of the local authority's draft budget and the policy group may for that purpose avail of the assistance of not more than 3 additional persons, who are not members of the authority.
(b) The additional persons referred to in paragraph (a) shall be persons who in the opinion of the policy group have financial, organisational or other knowledge or experience likely to be of special relevance to the policy group's consideration of the authority's draft budget.
(5) (a) The policy group may request the manager to provide a report to the policy group on any matter or thing related to a function of the local authority and specified by the policy group and, subject to paragraph (b), the manager shall provide such report.
(b) A manager shall provide such a report in so far as compliance with such request would not—
(i) duplicate a similar request by the elected council or a direction under section 138 (2), or
(ii) be contrary to law.
(6) (a) Where the policy group requests a report under subsection (5), the Cathaoirleach may at the time of such request by direction in writing signed and dated by him or her and given to the manager require the manager to refrain from doing any particular act, matter or thing related to the subject matter of the report and specifically mentioned in the direction and which the local authority or manager concerned can lawfully refrain from doing.
(b) Subject to paragraph (c), a direction under paragraph (a) shall continue to have effect, unless withdrawn, until the next meeting of the local authority and may be extended by resolution at that meeting and where not so extended ceases to have effect.
(c) A direction under paragraph (a) (whether extended under paragraph (b) or not) shall not in any case have effect for longer than 3 months and shall cease to have effect on the expiration of 3 months after the date on which it is given, unless it is earlier withdrawn or has ceased to have effect under paragraph (b).
(d) Where a direction ceases to have effect a similar direction or a direction of substantially like effect in relation to the act, matter or thing in question may not be given.
(e) The manager shall comply with a direction duly and lawfully given under this subsection.
(7) Nothing in this section shall prejudice a local authority in carrying out at any time any function which a local authority or manager is required by or under statute or by order of a court to carry out and any direction claiming to be given under subsection (6) which contravenes this subsection is invalid.
(8) Nothing in this section prejudices or derogates from the functions conferred on an elected council by this or any other enactment.
(9) Nothing in this section prevents the manager from dealing immediately with any situation which he or she considers is an emergency situation calling for immediate action and section 138 (5) applies for the purposes of this subsection.
134. —(1) In this section, except where the context otherwise requires—
“local authority” means a county council or a city council;
“specified period” means a period not longer than 6 months from—
(a) in a local election year, the date of the annual meeting,
(b) in the case of a review, the date of a resolution or the date of a request under subsection (8).
(2) Within the specified period and in accordance with this section, every local authority shall prepare a statement of strategy for the local authority (in this section referred to as a “corporate plan”).
(3) The manager shall—
(a) prepare the corporate plan in consultation with the policy group,
(b) fix a schedule of meetings for that purpose, and
(c) provide such assistance (including assistance by way of consultancy or otherwise) as may be practicable to assist in the preparation of the corporate plan and in its consideration by the policy group.
(4) (a) It is the responsibility and the duty of the policy group and of the manager to take all such steps as are necessary to ensure that the corporate plan is submitted to the elected council for approval within the specified period.
(b) Where the corporate plan is not submitted in accordance with paragraph (a)—
(i) the Cathaoirleach shall convene a special meeting within 14 days of the expiration of such period, and
(ii) the Cathaoirleach and the manager shall make a joint submission to the elected council at the special meeting outlining the steps to be taken to ensure its completion and when it is proposed to submit the corporate plan to the elected council.
(5) (a) The elected council shall consider the corporate plan submitted in accordance with subsection (4) and may make such amendments as it considers appropriate and shall approve it with or without amendments.
(b) Where the corporate plan is not approved in accordance with paragraph (a) within the period of 2 months from the date of its submission to the elected council, it shall be deemed to be approved on the expiration of that period, subject to any amendments—
(i) made to it under paragraph (a) within that period, or
(ii) which are otherwise necessary or consequential and which the manager may make within 2 weeks after the expiration of that period.
(6) The corporate plan shall be prepared on the basis of an organisational wide strategic approach encompassing the various activities of the local authority concerned and shall include—
(a) a statement of the principal activities of the local authority,
(b) the objectives and priorities for each of the principal activities and strategies for achieving those objectives,
(c) the manner in which the authority proposes to assess its performance in respect of each such activity, taking account of relevant service indicators and of the need to work towards best practice in service delivery and in the general operation of the local authority,
(d) human resources activities (including training and development) to be undertaken for the staff of the local authority and, where appropriate for the elected council,
(e) the organisational structure of the local authority, both elected council and staff, including corporate support and information technology and the improvements proposed to promote efficiency of operation and customer service and in general to support the corporate plan,
(f) such other matters as may be set out in guidelines issued under subsection (10) for the purposes of this section.
(7) In preparing its corporate plan a local authority shall take account of such policies and objectives in relation to any of its functional programmes as are set out in any other plan, statement, strategy or other document prepared by it under any other provision of this or of any other enactment and shall comply with sections 69, 71 and 129.
(8) (a) A local authority may at any time decide by resolution to review its corporate plan and subsections (3) to (7) shall apply in relation to any such review.
(b) If requested by the Minister, a local authority shall carry out a review and following such review may make any amendments or a new corporate plan and subsections (3) to (7) shall apply in relation to any such review.
(9) The approval of the corporate plan, with or without amendments, is a reserved function.
(10) (a) From time to time the Minister may issue guidelines in connection with the preparation of corporate plans by local authorities for the purposes of this section and local authorities shall have regard to such guidelines.
(b) Guidelines may also provide, where relevant, for a corporate plan of a local authority to take account of and to reflect the principal activities of any town councils within its administrative area and for necessary consultation for that purpose.
(c) Any guidelines issued by the Minister in relation to the preparation of corporate plans by local authorities which are current on the date of the commencement of this provision shall be deemed to have issued in accordance with this section.
(d) Any corporate plan which is in the process of being adopted by a local authority immediately before the issue of guidelines referred to in paragraph (c) shall be deemed to have been adopted with due regard to those guidelines.
(11) (a) The manager shall prepare an annual progress report in respect of the local authority's corporate plan and such report shall be submitted to the elected council—
(i) at the same time as the authority's draft budget, or
(ii) at such other time as the elected council may by resolution decide.
(b) Details of the annual progress report shall be recorded in the local authority's annual report.
Report on capital programme.
135. —(1) Before the start of each local financial year the manager shall prepare and submit to the elected council a report indicating the programme of capital projects proposed by the local authority for the forthcoming and the following two local financial years having regard to the availability of resources.
(2) A report prepared under subsection (1) may be considered at the local authority budget meeting or at such other meeting as the elected council may by resolution decide.
(3) In considering the question of the resources likely to be available to it a local authority shall so consider—
(a) on the basis of a realistic and prudent assessment of the position, and
(b) on the basis of the information available to it at the time and having regard to the measures proposed by the authority to raise funding itself.
Furnishing of information to elected council.
136. —Without prejudice to section 105 , 135, 137 or 138 a manager shall, whenever requested—
(a) by an elected council of a local authority for which he or she is the manager or by its Cathaoirleach, or
(b) by a joint body for which he or she is the manager, or by its chairperson,
afford to the council, Cathaoirleach, joint body or chairperson (as the case may be) all information that may be in the possession or procurement of such manager in regard to any act, matter or thing relating to or concerning any business or transaction of such local authority or body which is mentioned in the request.
Plans, specifications to be prepared for elected council.
137. —(1) The elected council or a joint body may at any time by resolution require the manager for the local authority or joint body concerned to prepare and submit to the elected council or joint body, as the case may be—
(a) plans and specifications for the execution of any particular work specified in the resolution which can lawfully be executed by the local authority or joint body, and
(b) an estimate of the probable cost of the execution of such work.
(2) Whenever the elected council or joint body passes a resolution to which subsection (1) relates, the manager concerned shall, as soon as conveniently may be, prepare and submit to the elected council or joint body, plans and specifications and an estimate in accordance with the resolution.
Prior information to elected council.
138. —(1) The manager shall inform the elected council or joint body concerned—
(a) before any works (other than works of maintenance or repair) of the local authority or joint body concerned are undertaken, or
(b) before committing the local authority or joint body concerned to any expenditure in connection with proposed works (other than works of maintenance or repair).
(2) Subject to this section, an elected council or joint body may by resolution direct that, before the manager performs any specified executive function of the local authority or joint body, he or she shall inform the elected council or joint body, as the case may be, of the manner in which he or she proposes to perform that function, and the manager shall comply with the resolution.
(3) A resolution under subsection (2) may relate to any particular case or occasion or to every case or occasion of the performance of the specified executive function and may define what information is to be given and how and when it is to be given and the manager shall comply with the resolution.
(4) Nothing in this section prevents the manager from dealing immediately with any situation which he or she considers is an emergency situation calling for immediate action without regard to subsections (1) to (3).
(5) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (4), an emergency situation for the purpose of that subsection shall be deemed to include a situation where, in the opinion of the manager, the works concerned are urgent and necessary (having regard to personal health, public health or safety considerations) in order to provide a reasonable standard of accommodation for any person.
Direction that works not proceed.
139. —(1) Where the elected council or joint body is informed in accordance with section 138 of any works (not being any works which the local authority or joint body are required by or under statute or by order of a court to undertake), the elected council or joint body, as the case may be, may by resolution, direct that those works shall not proceed.
(2) The manager shall comply with a resolution of an elected council or joint body duly and lawfully passed under this section.
Requirement that a particular thing be done.
140. —(1) In this section “local authority” includes a joint body.
(2) Subject to this section, an elected council or joint body may by resolution require any particular act, matter or thing specifically mentioned in the resolution and which the local authority or the manager concerned can lawfully do or effect, to be done or effected in the performance of the executive functions of the local authority.
(3) Notice of the intention to propose a resolution under this section shall be given in writing to the manager and the notice—
(a) shall be signed by at least 3 members,
(b) shall contain the text of the proposed resolution, and
(c) may require that the proposed resolution be considered at a special meeting and shall then specify a day (not less than 7 days after the day on which the notice is received by the manager) for the holding of the special meeting.
(4) A resolution under this section shall not be considered at a meeting of the local authority which is held less than 7 days after the day on which the manager received the relevant notice under subsection (3).
(5) Where the manager receives a notice under subsection (3), he or she shall, as soon as possible, send a copy of the notice to every member of the local authority and, if the notice requires a special meeting and subsection (6) does not apply, a special meeting of the local authority shall be convened for the day specified in that behalf in the notice.
(6) Where a notice under subsection (3) specifies a day for the holding of a special meeting, and an ordinary meeting of the local authority is to be held on a day within the period of 14 days after the day on which the manager receives the notice, the resolution shall be considered at that ordinary meeting and a special meeting shall not be convened.
(7) Without prejudice to any other relevant requirements, it is necessary for the passing of a resolution under this section that at least one-third of the total number of members of the local authority concerned vote in favour of the resolution.
(8) A motion to pass a resolution under this section shall be considered before any other business at the meeting, other than—
(a) the election of a Cathaoirleach at any meeting where that office falls to be filled in accordance with Part 5, or
(b) any other business which the elected council or joint body may decide should take precedence.
(9) Where a resolution is duly and lawfully passed under this section, and if and when and in so far as money for its purpose is or has been provided, the manager shall cause the act, matter or thing mentioned in the resolution to be implemented.
(10) A resolution under this section does not apply or extend—
(a) to the performance of any function of a local authority generally,
(b) to every case or occasion of the performance of any such function or to a number or class of such cases or occasions so extended as to be substantially or in effect every case or occasion on which any such function is performed,
(c) to every case or occasion of the performance of any such function in a particular area or to a number or class of such cases or occasions so extended as to be substantially or in effect every case or occasion on which any such function is performed in that area, or
(d) so as to prevent the performance of any function of a local authority which the authority or the manager is required by law or by order of a court to perform,
and any resolution claiming to be passed under this section which contravenes this subsection is void.
(11) This section is without prejudice to section 34 of the Act of 2000 insofar as the said section 34 applies to notices under subsection (3) and resolutions referred to in subsection (7).
Duty of members appointed to other bodies.
141. —(1) Where one or more than one member of a local authority is elected, appointed or nominated by that authority to another body, whether established by or under statute or otherwise, it is the duty of that member or members to represent the local authority and to present a report to it on the activities and operation of that body—
(a) annually, or
(b) at any other time, if so requested by resolution or by the Cathaoirleach.
(2) Every report to which subsection (1) relates shall be presented by the member or members concerned to a meeting of the local authority.
(3) Nothing in this section requires the disclosure of information to the authority which is confidential or which could not otherwise be disclosed.
(4) This section also applies to any person who holds membership of a body, by virtue of being Cathaoirleach or any other member of a local authority.
Members' expenses, remuneration, etc.
142. —(1) The Minister may by regulations, made with the consent of the Minister for Finance, provide for the payment by a local authority of allowances for expenses incurred by its members in connection with—
(a) attendance at meetings of the local authority, a committee of that authority or a joint committee or joint body involving that authority;
(b) attendance at conferences, seminars, training or other events to which subsection (5) applies;
(c) the post of chair of a strategic policy committee;
(d) any other specified matter.
(2) Regulations under this section may also provide for—
(a) the payment of remuneration to members or to Cathaoirligh of specified classes of local authorities, or
(b) subject to subsection (4)(i), the making of superannuation arrangements in respect of members of specified classes of local authorities.
(3) Any payments referred to in subsection (1) or (2) are subject to and shall be made in accordance with regulations made under this section.
(4) Regulations under this section may provide for—
(a) an annual amount in respect of remuneration in such cases as may be specified;
(b) a composite annual allowance in respect of attendances at meeting referred to in subsection (1)(a) and at such events or other matters as may be specified;
(c) arrangements to apply as regards the authorisation under subsection (5) by the local authority of attendances to which that subsection applies;
(d) conditions, restrictions or other requirements to apply in relation to allowances, remuneration or superannuation and the making of payments (including the abatement or reduction in whole or in part of allowances or remuneration in specified circumstances or for specified persons in receipt of allowances or remuneration provided by a public authority or otherwise from public funds);
(e) the furnishing of specified information to a local authority for the purposes of this section;
(f) the payment of allowances to persons who are not members of a local authority;
(g) a public register of attendances and payments to which this section and section 143 relate;
(h) deductions from payments referred to in subsection (1) or (2) for such matters as may be specified;
(i) the approval of the Minister, given with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to such arrangements for superannuation purposes as may be specified;
(j) the giving of directions from time to time in relation to any matter the subject of such regulations;
(k) any other matters which appear to the Minister to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of this section.
(5) (a) This subsection applies to a conference, seminar, training or other meeting or event held, whether within or outside the State, for the purpose of discussing, obtaining or imparting information regarding or connected with any matter that is of concern to the local authority in relation to the performance of its functions and is relevant to its administrative area and to the local community.
(b) An elected council may authorise one or more of its members to represent the authority at a meeting or event to which this subsection applies and such authorisation may, subject to regulations under this section, be given in an individual case or as regards such attendances generally during a particular year.
(c) A local authority may provide in its budget an amount to meet expenditure for the purposes of this subsection.
(d) An elected council shall not authorise under this subsection unless, having had regard to the following matters, it is satisfied that the authorisation is justified by reference to—
(i) the benefits likely to accrue,
(ii) the general interests of its administrative area and the local community, and
(iii) the total cost involved.
(e) An authorisation under this subsection is a reserved function and such authorisations shall not exceed the amount provided for in accordance with paragraph (c).
(f) Where a member of an elected council attends a meeting or event by virtue of an authorisation under this section, he or she shall submit a summary of the proceedings to the next ordinary meeting of the local authority.
(g) Without prejudice to paragraphs (a) to (f), the Minister may issue general guidelines for the purposes of this subsection, including guidelines as to expenditure in relation to attendance at specified information or training events.
(6) A local authority shall comply with any guidelines issued under subsection (5)(g).
(7) A local authority of a class specified for the purposes of subsection (2) may, in relation to its members or a class or classes of its members and subject to regulations under this section, make provision in relation to the superannuation of its members or in relation to the superannuation of a class or classes of its members.
(8) Regulations made under section 51 of the Local Government Act, 1991 , and in force at the commencement of this provision shall continue in force and have effect as if made under this section and may be amended or revoked accordingly.
Allowance for Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach.
143. —(1) (a) A local authority may pay an allowance for reasonable expenses to its Cathaoirleach.
(b) A local authority may pay an allowance for reasonable expenses to its Leas-Chathaoirleach.
(2) A decision to pay an allowance under subsection (1) and the determination of the amount of the allowance is a reserved function.
(3) (a) After consultation with the Minister for Finance, the Minister may issue directions to local authorities or specified classes of local authorities for the purposes of this section.
(b) Without prejudice to paragraph (a), directions may specify—
(i) particular considerations to which the local authority shall have regard, and
(ii) the maximum amounts of the allowances payable under this section, including different amounts for different classes of local authorities.