Legislation concerning local government in England is decided by the Parliament and Government of the United Kingdom, because England does not have a devolved parliament or regional assemblies, outside Greater London.
England has, since 1994 been subdivided into nine regions. One of these, London, has an elected Assembly and Mayor, but the others have a relatively minor role: Regional Development Agencies were abolished in 2012, though unelected "leader's boards" continue as consultative forums.
Combined authorities were introduced in England outside Greater London by the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 to cover areas larger than the existing local authorities but smaller than the regions. Combined authorities are created voluntarily and allow a group of local authorities to pool appropriate responsibility and receive certain delegated functions from central government in order to deliver transport and economic policy more effectively over a wider area. There are currently nine such authorities, with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority established on 1 April 2011, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and three others in April 2014, two in 2016 and two in 2017.
Below the region level and excluding London, England has two different patterns of local government in use. In some areas there is a county council responsible for services such as education, waste management and strategic planning within a county, with several non-metropolitan district councils responsible for services such as housing, waste collection and local planning. Both are principal councils and are elected in separate elections. Some areas have only one level of local government. These are unitary authorities, which are also principal councils. Most of Greater London is governed by London borough councils. The City of London and the Isles of Scilly are sui generis authorities, pre-dating recent reforms of local government.
There are 57 'single tier' authorities: