The general power of competence is the power available to local councils in England and Wales which enables them to do "anything that individuals generally may do". It was provided for in the Localism Act. 2011 and replaces the well-being powers in the Local Government Act 2000.
It is a power of first resort which means that eligible councils no longer need to refer to other statutory powers in defence of their spending. They may simply quote the power of well-being.
In order to qualify to use the Power, councils must demonstrate that they are eligible so to do. Eligibility is shown by having (1) a qualified Clerk, (2) at least two thirds of the members have stood for election, and (3)the council has resolved at the relevant annual meeting that it meets those conditions.
Set out below you will find a Fact Sheet on the operation and restrictions of the Power and also a presentation that takes you through its key points.