It establishes policies for action and decides how much money will be raised and spent on behalf of the community. It is responsible for spending public money lawfully and without risk and for achieving the best value for money
The Council represents and serves the whole community. Most communities are made up of smaller communities, often with different interests; a councils duty is to serve them all. The Council balances the needs of different elements of the community to get the best results. Frequently it has the difficult task of deciding what that best result might be.
Parish councils are local authorities first created by statute in 1894. Parliament has given parish councils the power to raise and spend money- a power shared by other local authorities.
Each Parish Council is made up of individual councillors who contribute to the work of the whole Council by:
- suggesting ideas
- engaging in constructive debate
- responding to the needs and views of the community
- representing the constituents
- behaving in an ethical way and being open about interests
- commenting on proposals to ensure the best outcome
- voting - to enable the Council to make decisions
No individual Councillor (including the Chairman) can make a decision on behalf of the Council
The Chairman, assisted by the Clerk guides these activities by managing the meetings of the Council. The Council as a body decides whether to work in partnership with other organisations and can agree to serve on other bodies. When working in partnership, Councillors often represent the Council as a corporate body.
The Parish Council comprises 10 members who are elected every four years by the electors of the parish. Councillors may be automatically re-elected if there are no more than 10 nominations, and can be co-opted
The responsibilities of the Council are many and varied and are specified in Acts of Parliament. These powers relate to planning, provision of recreational facilities, community transport, footpaths, street lighting, certain aspects of highway maintenance, litter, open spaces, traffic calming etc.
The Parish Council has a planning committee and the business is delegated to them. These meetings are normally held every 4 weeks – the comments from the committee are submitted to EHDC who make the final decision.
There are various working groups including finance but these are non decision making groups who report back to the Council for decisions
The Full Council meets every month, with the exception of January and August where the decisions or recommendations by the working groups / committees are resolved.
Council members, all of whom are unpaid, undertake many duties from checking on highway matters, commenting on planning applications, attending many meetings and events on behalf of the parish, as well as dealing with the general business of the Council.
The Finance Working Group prepare the Councils budget (draft) in November each year. A final budget is agreed by the Council in December and a precept request forwarded to the District Council. The money is paid to the Parish Council by the District Council in late April and September each year.
The accounts are internally audited three times per year by an independent internal auditor with the full accounts being audited after the year end each year.
The Annual General Meeting of the Council is held each May, when elections for Chairman and Vice Chairman are held, and Committee responsibilities are allocated.
The Annual Parish Meeting is held between March and May each year - usually in April and is a meeting which all electors of the parish can attend. The purpose of this meeting is to allow the Parish Council to report what it has been doing over the past year. It also enables electors to speak about anything they consider important although only electors of the parish may speak and vote at the meeting.