Home » The role of the Commission What we do and don't do

What we do and don't do

What we do

The Commission has a number of powers and duties and its main functions are listed here.

It makes decisions on applications to reorganise local authorities. This could include the creation of a new council, the abolition or union of existing councils, the transfer of responsibilities between councils, the alteration of boundaries, or the creation of a unitary authority.

It resolves disputes over councils’ representation reviews. These could involve boundary changes, the total number of councillors or community board members, the creation or abolition of a community and its community board, the area where council or board members are elected from, or the names of the wards or constituencies.

It considers requests by a district council to become a city council. The council must have a population of more than 50,000, be predominantly urban and be a distinct entity and major centre of activity within its region.

Consider requests and appeals over other changes to council structures. These could involve the management of land drainage schemes or the transfer of a ward from one council to a neighbouring council.

It can report or make recommendations to the Minister of Local Government on any matter relating to local authorities. The report can be on the Commission’s own initiative or in response to a request from the Minister.

The Chairperson of the Commission is also a member of the Representation Commission. The Representation Commission meets every five years to adjust the boundaries of parliamentary electorates following the Census.


What we don’t do

  • Administer triennial elections for local authorities.
  • Oversee the conduct of council staff during elections.
  • Enforce spending limits by candidates seeking election.
  • Regulate council agendas or their standing orders or bylaws.
  • Control the setting of local authority rates.
  • Resolve employment disputes affecting council staff or elected members.
  • Investigate complaints about inappropriate spending or alleged fraud or illegal behaviour.
  • Handle requests for the release of official council information.

For more information about other agencies involved with local government oversight and governance, please visit our How to Find Information page