Understanding London’S Political Governance Structure

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London is the capital city of England and one of the most influential cities in the world. The city is governed by a unique political structure that is different from other major cities in the world. As the hub of business, tourism, and international politics, London’s governance is essential to its continued growth and success.

The political structure of London is complex and includes several distinct layers of government. At the national level, the city is under the jurisdiction of the central government, which is responsible for issues such as foreign policy. Within London itself, there are 32 boroughs, each with its own local government. These boroughs are responsible for a wide range of services, including housing, education, and social services.

London also has a unique governing body called the Greater London Authority (GLA). The GLA is divided into two parts: the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The Mayor is responsible for the city’s overall direction and policy, such as transportation and economic development. The Assembly provides checks and balances on the Mayor’s power and is responsible for scrutinizing the operations of the GLA.

In conclusion, the political structure and governance of London are crucial to the city’s continued growth and success. It is a complex structure that includes national, local, and regional levels of government, which strive to provide effective services to the city’s residents and businesses.

Local Government

Local government in London is divided into 32 boroughs, each with their own council responsible for providing services like social care, housing, and waste management. The councils are funded through council tax and grants from central government. The Mayor of London oversees strategic planning and transport matters across the city.

There are also several larger bodies responsible for regional governance and policy, including the Greater London Authority and Transport for London. These bodies are accountable to the Mayor and work to ensure that services and infrastructure are coordinated across the city.

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Executive Mayor

The Executive Mayor of London is the elected head of the Greater London Authority (GLA) and functions as the city’s most powerful political figure. Since 2000, London’s governance model has changed to a directly elected mayor, which has been in office since 2000. The current mayor is Sadiq Khan, who was first elected in 2016 and reelected for a second term in 2021. The Executive Mayor has a wide range of responsibilities, including transport, policing, and economic development, among others.

The Executive Mayor is responsible for strategic planning in London, which involves setting out the city’s long-term vision and goals, as well as implementing policies and programs that achieve those objectives. They work alongside the London Assembly, which scrutinizes their decisions and proposals. The Mayor also controls the budget for the GLA, which comprises Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police, and other bodies.

The Executive Mayor of London also plays a significant role in national politics, as they have a seat on the Cabinet in the UK Government. They are also responsible for representing London on the world stage, including promoting the city’s interests to international investors and managing London’s relationship with other global cities.


The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body that ensures the greater London area is properly served by the Mayor’s administration. The Assembly holds the Mayor to account and examines his strategies, decisions, and actions. Members are elected using proportional representation to represent the different geographical areas of London. They are tasked with promoting the interests of Londoners and overseeing the Mayor’s budget and plans for the city. Additionally, the Assembly examines issues affecting Londoners, such as transport, the environment, policing, and housing.

The Assembly has the power to amend the Mayor’s budget, hold hearings on any new or existing policies, and conduct investigations. The Assembly also has six permanent committees which include Budget and Performance, Environment, GLA Oversight, Health, Housing, and Planning. Each committee monitors and scrutinizes policy and engages in consultation with stakeholders.

Overall, the London Assembly plays a vital role in ensuring that London is governed effectively and that the needs and concerns of Londoners are addressed. Its role in scrutinizing and holding the Mayor to account emphasizes transparency and promotes good governance.

Borough Councils

Borough councils play a critical role in the administration of London. Each of the 32 boroughs has its own council, which is responsible for providing local services such as waste collection, upkeep of parks and public spaces, and the provision of housing. The councils are made up of democratically elected councillors who represent the interests of their constituents.

The council is led by a directly elected Mayor, who sets the strategic direction for the borough and leads the decision-making process. The council is supported by a range of administrative and operational staff who work to deliver services to local residents.

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Borough councils operate as part of a wider system of government in London, which includes the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Mayor of London. The GLA has a range of responsibilities, including transportation, policing, and economic development.

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The relationship between borough councils and the GLA is an important one, as they work together to deliver services across the city. The Mayor of London has the power to set overall policy for the city and to coordinate the work of the boroughs to ensure that services are delivered effectively and efficiently.

In summary, borough councils are a vital part of the administration of London, providing local services and representing the interests of their constituents. They work closely with the GLA to deliver services across the city and to ensure that the needs of all Londoners are met.

Political Parties

Political parties play a significant role in the workings of London, just like any other major city. There are several political parties functioning in the city, with each having its own set of policies and objectives. The two major political parties in the city are the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.

In London, political parties are responsible for representing and campaigning for their respective followers who support their agendas. They work towards implementing their manifestoes and policies once they gain power by winning local and national elections.

The parties participate in campaigns, debates, and other activities to showcase their beliefs and gain support from people residing in the city. They also strive to ensure that local council decisions align with their party’s beliefs and values while keeping in mind the interests of their constituents.

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In addition to parties playing a role in the local and national governance processes, there are also pressure groups who lobby the government and raise awareness on the issues impacting the people in London. Overall, political parties help shape the policy decisions and governance of London.

Devolution Of Powers

The devolution of powers is the transfer of certain responsibilities and decision-making powers from a central government to local authorities. In London, this means that certain powers are given to the Mayor and the London Assembly, who are responsible for making decisions on issues such as transport, housing, planning, and policing.

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This devolution of powers has been a gradual process, beginning with the creation of the Greater London Authority in 2000. Since then, the Mayor of London has been given increasing powers, including the ability to set his or her own budget and appoint senior executives to key posts.

However, some areas of policy remain the responsibility of the central government, such as education and health. The degree of devolution also varies across the country, with different regions having different levels of autonomy.

Overall, the devolution of powers in London reflects the desire to give local authorities more control over the decisions that affect their communities. However, there are ongoing debates about the appropriate balance between the central government and local authorities in terms of decision-making power.

Committee System

The committee system is an essential element of how London works. The city is governed by a system of committees that oversee various services and functions of the city. These committees are set up to deal with specific issues such as planning, transport, and finance. They are the key decision-making bodies for the capital city.

The committee system is designed to ensure that the needs of the city are met efficiently and effectively. Each committee has a specific remit, and they are responsible for taking decisions within their area of responsibility. The members of each committee are appointed by the Mayor of London and are drawn from a range of backgrounds.

The committee system is central to how London works because it ensures that the city is managed in a way that is transparent, accountable, and responsive to the needs of its residents. This system provides a platform for London’s diverse communities to have their voices heard and to influence the decisions that affect their lives. It also ensures that the city is managed in a way that is consistent with the Mayor’s vision for the city.

The committee system is an essential tool for managing the complex issues facing London. It is a vital component of the city’s governance structure and ensures that the city is managed in a way that is open, accountable, and responsive to the needs of its residents.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is an important aspect of how London works. The city has a comprehensive strategy in place to manage its growth and development, ensuring that it remains a competitive and prosperous global city. The Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority oversee the implementation of the strategy, which focuses on key areas such as housing, transport, environment, and culture.

The strategy involves consultations with stakeholders and the public to ensure that it meets the needs of the city and its residents. It also involves working closely with businesses and organizations to promote investment and economic growth. The strategy is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that it stays relevant and aligned with changing needs and priorities.

London’s strategic planning has led to significant improvements in the city’s infrastructure, such as the Crossrail project and the development of high-quality affordable housing. It has also helped to promote London as a leading city for business, culture, and tourism. Through this, the city is able to attract investment and talent from around the world.

Overall, strategic planning plays a crucial role in how London works, ensuring that it remains a dynamic and successful global city.


In London, accountability is a crucial aspect of how the city works. It refers to the requirement for individuals, organizations, and public officials to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. In order to ensure accountability, there are a number of mechanisms in place at various levels of government.

At the local level, the Greater London Authority (GLA) is responsible for overseeing the work of the mayor and ensuring that he is held accountable for his decisions. The GLA holds regular meetings and hearings where the public can voice their concerns and ask questions.

In addition, there are a wide range of regulatory bodies and watchdog organizations that oversee the work of different sectors and ensure that they are working transparently and ethically. For example, Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for the city’s public transportation systems, and is accountable to the public through regular consultations and audits.

Overall, accountability is a key principle that underpins the effective functioning of London. By ensuring that public officials and organizations are held responsible for their actions, the city can work towards achieving greater transparency, fairness, and efficiency in delivering services to its residents.


In conclusion, London is a bustling city that works hard to maintain its status as a global hub for business, finance, culture, and tourism. There are a myriad of interconnected systems and institutions that make London work, including its transportation networks, housing market, financial sector, education and healthcare systems, and entrepreneurial ecosystem. London’s diverse and multicultural population is another key ingredient to its success, contributing to its vibrant arts scene, international cuisine, and dynamic workforce.

However, London also faces its fair share of challenges, including maintaining affordability and access to housing, reducing air pollution and congestion, and addressing social inequality. The city must also navigate the changing geopolitical landscape and adapt to potential shifts in trade and migration policies.

Overall, London works through a carefully calibrated system of interdependent networks and institutions that enable it to maintain its global status as a leading city. Its continued success will require continued investment in infrastructure, education, and social programs that empower its residents to thrive in an ever-changing world.