According to 1978 Constitution, territorial governance in Spain is structured across three levels: autonomous communities (17), provinces (50) and municipalities (8.122), two of which – Madrid and Barcelona – enjoy a special system with exclusive competencies. The economic relationship between the Central State and local economies is regulated by the principles of financial autonomy and financial self-sufficiency; meaning that municipalities, provinces and islands have broad leeway on how to spend money and that they should be guaranteed with adequate resources to fulfill their competences. In this respect, municipal councils in Spain contribute by 69,1% of annual public spending.
The structure of Barcelona City Council is defined by the Municipal Charter and organised in a political and executive level.
The first is composed by councilors with decision-making responsibilities in matter of planning, scheduling and monitoring; and includes the Mayor, the Municipal Government Commission and the Municipal Council. The second works under the Municipal Manager’s lead and is responsible for implementing the initiatives approved by the Municipal Government and the Municipal Council.
The latter body’s composition reflects the proportion of votes obtained by each party at municipal elections, held every 4 years with next round being scheduled for 2019.
The City Council’s executive body is the Municipal Government Commission, which includes the Mayor, nine councilors appointed by her/him as chair, and four Deputy Mayors. It defines the main tenets of municipal government actions, constituting the place where final approval is given to budget, bylaws and the Municipal Action Plan, after they have been ratified by the Full Council. The four Deputy Mayors are tasked to oversee as many policy areas, notably 1) Economy, Employment, Digital City and International Relations; 2) Social Rights; 3) Citizen Rights, Culture, Participation and Transparency; 4) Ecology, Urban Planning and Mobility; to each of which corresponds a team of councilors and commissioners with more targeted responsibilities. The only commissioner reporting directly to the Mayor’s Office is the one in charge with Security and Safety.
Moreover, in order to both foster a decentralised administration and greater citizens representation at the sub-local level, the city is further divided into ten districts; each of which is represented by its own District Council, along with the District Councilor and the Presiding District Councilor. According to the Municipal Charter, at least 15% of the annual municipal budget has to be managed and spent by the District Council.
In the light of its special regime, Barcelona enjoys a broad array of exclusive competencies, as defined by the Municipal Charter. Based on this document, following is a list of the municipal competencies that the city is mandated to administer locally and of those shared with other supra-local levels of governance.
Water Management Cycle
Environment and Biodiversity
Economic public initiatives
Local police and security
Sanitary inspections, Food and Water inspection, Environmental control
Creation and management of Museums, Libraries and Archives, Theatres and Auditoriums – City Council and the Generalitat,
Youth recreational activities and facilities
Women public facilities