There are two criteria which a council must fulfill in order to be eligible to adopt the GPC:
- At the time when the GPC is adopted, at least two-thirds of the total seats on the council must be held by members who stood at the last ordinary election or a subsequent by-election, i.e. council members who have been elected (even if unopposed) rather than co-opted or appointed.
- The clerk to the council must hold either the Certificate in Local Council Administration or an equivalent qualification.
GPC is a power of first resort enabling parish councils who have adopted it ‘to do anything that individuals generally may do’, that is, very broadly, anything that is not otherwise prohibited by law.
Restrictions in law which apply to the use of the GPC include the duties on councils to act to prevent crime and disorder, to respect human rights, to consider biodiversity and to protect personal data.