Depairtments o Fraunce
In the admeenistrative diveesion o Fraunce, the depairtment (French: département, pronounced: [depaʁtəmɑ̃]) is ane o the three levels o govrenment belaw the naitional level, atween the region an the commune. Thare are 95 depairtments in metropolitan Fraunce an 5 Owerseas depairtments, which are classifee'd as regions an aw. Depairtments are further subdividit intae 342 arrondissements, thairsels dividit intae cantons; the latter twa hae nae autonomy an are uised for the organisation o public services or elections.
Depairtments are admeenistered bi electit General Cooncils (conseil général) an their Presess, whose main auries o responsibility include the management o a nummer o social an welfare allowances, o junior heich schuil (collège) biggins an technical staff, o local roads an schuil an rural buses, an a contribution tae municipal infrastructurs. Local services o the State admeenistration are tradeetionally organisit at depairtmental level, whaur the Prefect represents the govrenment; housomeivver, regions hae gained importance in this regard syne the 2000s, wi some depairtment-level services mergit intae region-level services.
Depairtments wur creatit in 1790 as a rational replacement o Ancien Régime provinces in view o strengthenin naitional unity; amaist aw o them are therefore namit efter rivers, muntains or coasts rather than efter historical or cultural territories, unlike regions, an some o them are commonly referred tae bi their twa-digit postal code nummer, which wis till recently uised for aw vehicle registration plates. They hae inspired similar diveesions in mony o Fraunce’s umwhile colonies.