Councils have certain duties 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.
As it is not practical or efficient for a body of Elected Members to perform the many operational activities that are required in the day-to-day administration of the Council's roles and functions, Section 44 of the Act allows the Council to formally delegate many of its powers and functions (within certain stated conditions and exemptions) to the Chief Executive Officer, who may then sub-delegate these powers and functions to other responsible staff members. The Council may also delegate its powers and functions to a Council committee or authorised person.
All delegations made by the Council can be revoked at any time and do not, except in limited circumstances, prevent Council from acting in a matter itself. In addition, a staff member to whom a delegation has been made may choose not to exercise that delegation and bring a matter before Council for direction. 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.
Our delegation arrangements can be found here.