Role of the Parish Council

Parish Councillors are elected by the electors of the parish, under section 16 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972, every four years. A councillor may also be returned by bye-election, co-option, appointment by the district council or by return after a successful election petition. All Councillors are required to complete a declaration of Acceptance of Office and to provide a written undertaking that they accept the Council’s Code of Conduct. 

Individual councillors work together to serve the community and to help the Council to make decisions on behalf of the local community. Councillors contribute to the work of the council by suggesting ideas, engaging in constructive debate and by responding to the needs and views of the community representing their constituents. Councillors comment on proposals to ensure the best outcome and vote to enable the council to make decisions. Councillors must accept the decisions of the Council as a whole even if they do not agree with it. In such circumstances a Councillor may ask for a vote against a resolution to be recorded. Councillors are required to behave in an ethical way and to declare an interest when necessary. 

The Chairman is elected by the members of the Council at the Annual Council meeting and serves for twelve months under Section 15 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972. 

The Chairman’s main role is to run council meetings. 

The Chairman is responsible for ensuring that effective and lawful decisions are taken at meetings of the council and, assisted by the clerk, guides activities by managing the meetings of the council. The Chairman is responsible for involving all councillors in discussion and ensuring that councillors keep to the point. The Chairman summarises the debate and facilitates the making of clear resolutions and is responsible for keeping discussions moving so that the meeting is not too long. The Chairman has a casting vote. His/her first vote is a personal vote as a member of the council. If there is a tied vote, the Chairman can have a second, casting vote. 

The Chairman will often be the public face of the council and will represent the council at official events. He/she may be asked to speak on behalf of the council and in such circumstances should only express the agreed views of the council and not his/her personal views. The Chairman cannot legally make a decision on behalf of the council.
The council represents and serves the whole community. The council is responsible for the services it provides. It establishes policies for action and decides how money will be raised and spent on behalf of the community. It is responsible for spending public money lawfully and achieving the best value for money. Except in certain circumstances (Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960) council meetings are open to the public. The council as a body decides whether to work in partnership with other organisations and it often serves (through representatives) on other bodies. An individual councillor (including the Chairman) cannot make a decision on behalf of the council so when working in partnership, councillors must always remember that they represent the council as a corporate body.

Powers and Duties of the Parish Council

Powers to provide allotments
Duty to provide allotment gardens if demand unsatisfied
Power to make records held available to the public and to support local archives
Baths and
Power to provide public baths and washhouses
Burial Grounds, Cemeteries and Crematoria
Power to acquire and maintain
Power to provide
Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials
Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries
Bus Shelters
Power to provide and maintain shelters
Bye Laws
Powers to make Bye Laws in regards to pleasure grounds
Cycle Parks
Baths and Washhouses
Open Spaces and Burial Grounds
Mortuaries and Post-Mortem Rooms
Car Sharing Schemes
Power to establish, maintain and assist others
Duty to receive accounts of parochial charities
Power to provide public clocks
Closed Churchyards
Powers as to maintenance
Commons and Common Pastures
Powers in relation to inclosure, as to regulation and management, and as to providing common pasture
Conference Facilities
Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities
Community Centres
Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or educational objectives
Crime Prevention
Powers to spend money on various crime prevention measures
Delegated Functions
Power to assume a function delegated by another authority
Power to ensure effective discharge of Council functions
Power to employ persons to carry out Council functions
Power to deal with ponds/ditches, agreements with landowners and with English Nature to manage Council-owned reserve land as a nature reserve
Legal Proceedings
Power to prosecute or defend
Listed Buildings
Power to contribute to the preservation of historic buildings
Provision of receptacles
Power to promote
Power to deal with offensive ditches
Open Spaces
Power to acquire land and maintain
Parish Property and Records
Powers to direct as to their custody
Right to be notified of and power to respond to planning applications
Postal and telecommunications facilities
Power to pay the Post Office, British Telecommunications or any other public telecommunications operator any loss sustained in providing post or telegraph office or telecommunications facilities
Public Buildings and Village Halls
Power to provide
Public Conveniences
Power to provide
Public Enquiries
Power to make representations at public enquiries
Publicise Functions
Powers to publicise council and local authority functions
Raising of Finances
Power to raise money through the precept
Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds and open spaces and to manage and control them
Power to provide gymnasiums, playing fields and holiday camps
Provision of boating pools
Taxi Fare Concessions
Power to reimburse operator
Power to contribute to organisations encouraging
Transport and Traffic
Power to conduct surveys to establish the transport needs of the community, the use of and need for roads and the management and control of traffic
Power to collect and disseminate passenger transport information and make grants for bus services
Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes
Powers to train Councillors
Powers to spend money on community transport schemes
War Memorials
Power to maintain, repair and adapt war memorials
Water Supply
Powers to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water there from

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