Councillors as Individuals

Upon election to office, a councillor must sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office Form, agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and sign a Register of Interests Form (the latter must be updated each year for amendments).   In their own way these documents highlight the responsibility of the councillor to act appropriately and objectively on behalf of the electorate.  The councillors have a responsibility to remain well informed about local diverse views and maintain an up to date knowledge of both District and County policies.

The councillor must attend council meetings and if unavoidably absent, send a written letter of apology to the clerk or chairman.  If a Parish Councillor fails to attend meetings for six consecutive months he/she automatically ceases to be a councillor, unless reason for absence is approved by the Council.

Councillors are not able to make decisions or take actions on behalf of the council.  They can ask for items to be put on the meeting’s agenda and then introduce that item for council discussion.  All councillors can vote at a meeting, either by a show of hands or a verbal yes or no. 

Individual councillors can be appointed by the Chairman to hold specific briefs or portfolios within the council e.g. planning or highway matters and attend meetings external to the parish on their particular area of interest, representing the parish council at District or County level.

The Chairman

The election of a Chairman shall be the first business transacted after an election of a new parish council or at the first council meeting after the annual review.  The Chairman must be a member of the council and is elected by his/her fellow councillors.  He/she must sign a Declaration of Acceptance of Office Form upon election.

If present at a council meeting the chairman must preside.  The chairman has a second or casting vote when there is  a tied vote.  The Chair may, on three days notice convene the council any time or on seven days the parish meeting.  He/she is the proper person to whom a notice of resignation must be given.

The responsibilities of the Chairman are to preside over and control council meetings, keeping discussions to the point.  The Chairman must ensure that all councillors have the opportunity to speak on each agenda item.  He/she must remain impartial during the debate, summarising where appropriate and seeking a vote if necessary on the resolution.  He/she must understand decisions that are made at meetings and ensure that the Clerk and other council members also understand the decisions and actions to be taken.

The Chairman signs all meeting minutes once accepted by the council.  While the Chairman is the public face of the Council, he/she has no individual power to make decisions alone, unless specifically so delegated by the council.

The Council as a Whole

A Parish Council shall consist of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and councillors and shall have all such functions as are vested in the council by the Local Government Act 1972.

The number of Parish Councillors shall not be less than five, elected by the local government electors according to the Local Government Act 1972 and Part 1 of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1949.  Elections take place every four years, the whole number of parish councillors retiring together in every ordinary election year.  A parish council must hold an annual meeting and at least three other meetings each year.  No business can be transacted unless there is a quorum (at least one third of the members or a minimum of three).

The Parish Council is a corporate body, an elected tier of local government.  The council makes decisions as a body, passing resolutions by majority voting.  The council has the power to set the budget/precept for the year.

The council can consider any matter in which it has statutory powers to act, including the power to spend an amount of money for any purpose which in the council’s opinion is for the benefit of the parish’s inhabitants.  The council has a duty to maintain and preserve all assets that belong to the parish, managing parish property, executing works such as maintenance and improvements and contributing towards the expense of so doing.