About Parish Councils
Parish councils in England and Wales provide the third, but independent level, of local government, below county and district councils. They usually cover an area similar to that served by their local parish church, in parishes of 200 or more electors. Parish councils were first established by the Local Government Act of 1894 and today they are responsible for managing parish funds and providing local amenities such as monuments, playing fields, footpaths and churchyards – although they should not be confused with parochial church councils, which are directly concerned with church matters. Parish councils may impose a limited local rate, or precept, which is collected on their behalf by the district council as part of the Council Tax.
Parish councillors have to live in their parish and are elected every four years. They are all volunteers and receive no pay for their service. The only official to receive a salary is the parish council’s clerk, who deals with all the administrative matters and acts as an adviser to the councillors. The clerk is not allowed to vote at meetings, but he or she is empowered to make certain decisions on the councillors’ behalf, and provides a vital link between the parish council and other agencies or public bodies. The Clerk is also the Responsible Financial Officer for the Council.
Parish councils are publicly accountable and parishioners are entitled to attend all meetings, although there are some confidential matters which may be discussed by councillors in camera. Most parish councils meet once a month, usually in a school hall, community centre, church hall or other public room in their parish. Of all local government bodies, it is parish councils which are closest to the electorate and, therefore, have the greatest interest in local concerns. Because the councillors live in their parishes they are close to what goes on and should be able to find out about the things that really matter to parishioners. Although they have no power over district or county council decisions on issues such as planning, library closures, traffic problems or local public transport, they are able to pass on their opinions and these can sometimes influence the decision makers at a higher level.
Your Parish Councillors
01278 722579/07813363152 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nut Tree Cottage
Moor Road, Sutton Mallet
The Tithe Barn, Wood Lane,
6 Ford Lane,
101 Bradney Lane,