Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889
|Long title||An Act to amend the Laws relating to Local Government in Scotland.|
|Chapter||52 & 53 Vict. c. 50|
|Royal Assent||26 August 1889|
|Commencement||15 May 1890|
|Repealing legislation||Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929|
The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict. c. 50) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which was passed on 26 August 1889. The main effect of the Act was to establish elected county councils in Scotland. In this it followed the pattern introduced in England and Wales by the Local Government Act 1888.
The Act provided that a county council should be established in each county, consisting of elected councillors. The county was to be divided into electoral divisions, made up of groupings of parishes, each returning one councillor. In addition police burghs in the county were also regarded as electoral divisions, though the councillors for these areas were co-opted by the members of the burgh's town council.
The chairman of each county council, elected by the members, was given the title "Convenor of the county".
Powers transferred to the county councils
The county councils received numerous powers and duties previously performed by a number of bodies:
- Commissioners of Supply for the county
- County road trustees
- Justices of the peace of the county in general or special or quarter sessions
Among the diverse functions acquired from the justices were inspection of gas meters, regulation of explosive materials, weights and measures, habitual drunkards, control of wild birds and providing visitors to asylums.
In addition the county council exercised authority under the Public Health Acts for the entire county outside burghs. They also had jurisdiction under legislation dealing with contagious animal diseases and destructive insects.
County councils also took over police functions from burghs with less than 7,000 population.
Section 15 of the Act allowed the Secretary for Scotland to transfer further powers to the councils.
Areas and boundaries
The counties were initially to have the same boundaries as those already existing with some stated exceptions:
- The county of Lanark was to be united. Previously, for some administrative purposes it comprised three counties, known as the counties of the lower, middle or upper ward of Lanark.
- The counties of Ross and Cromarty were to be united "for all purposes whatsoever" as the county of Ross and Cromarty.
- The boundaries of the counties of Dumbarton and Stirling were to be adjusted, so that the entire parishes of Cumbernauld and Kirkintilloch were to be in Dunbartonshire. This area remained a detached part until the county council's abolition in 1975.
- Part of the county of Banff was transferred to the county of Aberdeen; and part of the county of Elgin was transferred to the county of Banff. These areas had already been administered by the counties in question under highways legislation.
- The county of Orkney and lordship of Zetland were separated to form counties of those names.
It was recognised in the Act that the boundaries of the counties would need to be adjusted from those in use for earlier purposes. Accordingly, section 45 established a body styled the Boundary Commissioners for Scotland to form county electoral divisions, to simplify the boundaries of counties, burghs and parishes, so that (1) each burgh and county would be, if expedient, within a single county, (2) no part of a county would be detached therefrom, and (3) no part of a parish would be detached therefrom, and to arbitrate disputes between local authorities arising from boundary changes. All boundary changes made by the commissioners came into full effect on 15 May 1892. For most purposes, however, the bulk of the changes became effective a year earlier, on 15 May 1891.
Subsequent to the commissioners' dissolution, the Secretary for Scotland had the power to vary boundaries on the application of a council.
Districts and district committees
Each county (unless it contained fewer than six parishes) was to be divided into districts consisting of groups of electoral divisions. Each district was to have a district committee consisting of the area's county councillors, one representative from each parochial board in the district, and one from each burgh. The committees performed the county council's functions in respect of the Public Health Acts and highways legislation.
Notes and references
- Shennan, Hay (1892). Boundaries of Counties and Parishes in Scotland: as settled by the Boundary Commissioners under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889. Edinburgh: William Green & Sons.