Braintree District in North Essex, is one example of England’s non-metropolitan districts. Non-Metropolitan Districts are divisions of non-metropolitan counties (also known as shires), which were created in by England’s Local Government Act of 1972. In 1974, such counties first came into existence. This act rid the country of the local governments already established and instituted a two-tier system for the whole country, dividing local government into counties and districts.
Each tier had functions and responsibilities of their own, distributed on the basis of which tier would be able to practice those responsibilities with the greatest efficiency. Non-metropolitan districts differ from the metropolitan districts in the division of power. The non-metropolitan council has more authority than the districts as it deals with education, transport, highways, fire, social services, libraries, and waste disposal. This leaves the responsibility of housing, recreation, waste collection, environmental health, and revenue to the non-metropolitan districts.
After the metropolitan districts were abolished by the Local Government Act of 1985, a new type of local government rose up. In the 1990s, a unitary authority was introduced to some areas, which assimilated the two-tier system into a single administration. This unitary authority had all the responsibility on a local level. The change was instituted for areas that were not thriving as well under the two-tier system.
England now has 27 non-metropolitan counties (or shire counties) and 201 non-metropolitan districts, which 56 are unitary authorities.