Politics in Minutes (2016)

Local and regional government

All but the smallest of nations have some system of local or regional government. These councils or regional authorities deal primarily with issues of purely local concern, such as responsibility for roads, street lighting, refuse collection and local amenities in general, or the local administration of services such as healthcare, education, police and fire services. Local authorities may be given some power to raise local taxes to fund these activities, or allocated a budget by central government, and their structure is often similar to central government in consisting of elected representatives and an unelected local bureaucracy.

A state may be divided into administrative districts in any of a number of ways: one tier of government may consist of regions such as counties, provinces or departments, and this may be subdivided to form another tier of government consisting of smaller rural and urban areas such as cities and towns, and even down to the level of individual villages and parishes.


The Hôtel de Ville in Paris houses the city’s local administration.