County Councils Association

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Year book, 1919/20-1973/74; monthly publication variously titled  Monthly Circular,  Official Circular,  Official Gazette,  County Councils Gazette, 1896-1974 (incomplete); minutes, 1891-1974. The minutes comprise signed minutes of the Executive Council, 1905-1906 and 1908-1974. Earlier minutes of the Executive Council, 1891-1905 and 1906-1907 are available unsigned. In addition, the Executive Council minutes and the annual reports are published in the bound annual volumes of the  Monthly Circular,(published from March 1896) and later the  Official Circular which superseded it in 1908. This in turn was renamed the  Official Gazette in 1914 and the  County Councils Gazette from May 1957. The minutes of the Executive Council - which consist of the reports of the committees to Council - provide evidence of the wide variety of activities of the Association. The minutes include the more important correspondence received by the Association from government departments, officials and other bodies; and reports were published as appendices to the minutes. These include reports of committees on legislation, government reports and reports of joint conferences. The monthly  Circulars and  Gazettes of the Association were published monthly to make its work more widely known and to provide an opportunity to supply useful and informative information. They contain various articles on all types of work in which the Association was involved, reports on particular aspects of work of individual county councils, extracts from county reports and surveyors' reports and proceedings in Parliament. The issues of the  Monthly Circular for 1897 and 1904-1907 are missing.

Administrative / Biographical History

The County Councils Association (CCA) was formed in 1890 following the Local Government Act in 1888 which established county councils and raised certain boroughs to county status. The proposal to establish a representative association for county councils (similar to the existing Association of Municipal Corporations) was made in 1889 at a meeting of the Society of Clerks of the Peace. At a subsequent meeting, seven counties resolved to form an association and the Chairmen of Lancashire, Middlesex, and Leicestershire County Councils formally established the CCA.

Local authorities have never dealt individually with central government in which they have a joint interest and have formed associations to represent them collectively. Consequently, the objectives of all local authority associations are similar in that they seek to represent and protect the interests of their members. The activities of the CCA fell into three distinct categories: those in relation to Government Departments; those in relation to Parliament; and those in relation to its members. Its influence in formulating government policy cannot be underestimated, especially post 1945. The vast increase of legislation introduced by central government led to increasing co-operation between the Association and government departments. The CCA was consulted on all changes in policy and was included in discussions of government bills. It was brought into consultation in drafting of circulars and received copies of all those with a bearing on local government before their publication. It was also invited to send representatives to serve on numerous official committees. The parliamentary activities of the Association were also important, although less so after 1945 when more emphasis was placed on pre-legislative discussions. The services the CCA offered to its members included a regular journal containing articles of topical interests, details of the Association's policies, activities and decisions; and other publications including reports and memoranda. In the post 1945 period, the local authority associations joined together in carrying out a number of joint enterprises. For example, they instituted a Local Government Information Office in 1963 and established the Local Government Computer Committee in 1965 out of which developed the Local Authorities Management Services and Computer Committee.

The CCA was controlled by an Executive Council which was composed of representatives of its member authorities and clerks of county councils. It generally met nine times a year. Its major function was to consider reports although these were rarely rejected and consequently its power was limited and much of the work of the Association was conducted by committee. These committees, the majority of which were in existence by the 1930s, included Agriculture, Education, Highways, Parliamentary and General Purposes, Planning, Police, Public Health and Housing and Finance. Temporary committees, sub-committees and advisory committees were sometimes set up; for example, to consider a particular bill (such as the special sub-committee appointed to consider the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935); or to deal with a particular issue (such as the special committee set up in 1935 to consider the unemployment problem). The CCA was financed by subscriptions from member authorities.

Following the passing of the 1972 Local Government Act, representatives of the new county councils met on 25 July 1973 where they agreed to form an Association of County Councils (ACC). All county councils in England and Wales were invited to join the Association and to send representatives to a meeting on 24 October where the constitution of the new Association was approved. The ACC took over its full responsibilities on 1 April 1974 when the Act came into force.

Reference:  A list of the historical records of the County Councils Association (now the Association of County Councils) compiled by Philippa Bassett as part of a research project funded by the Social Science Research Council (Birmingham: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham, 1980)

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Records deposited by the Local Government Association, September 1997.

Note

English

Other Finding Aids

A brief description is also available on the University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department website: http://www.is.bham.ac.uk/specialcoll/

Alternative Form Available

Copies of the CCA's monthly publications are available in a number of University libraries.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

The University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds records of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (GB 150 AMA) and its predecessor the Association of Municipal Corporations (GB 150 AMC), which includes records of the Non-County Boroughs Association (GB 150 AMC), together with papers of other local authority associations including the Association of District Councils (GB 150 ADC); Association of County Councils (GB 150 ACC); Rural District Councils Association (GB 150 RDCA); Urban District Councils Association (GB 150 UDCA).

Additional Information

English