How we work
As a parish council we are a civil local authority and the lowest tier of local government. In the main, parishes are elected corporate bodies, have variable tax raising powers, and have a very defined way of working – which because it is rooted mainly in old legislation can appear quite dated. The main instrument – the Local Govenrment Act was made law in 1972; lots of other laws have come along since and either sat on top or amended the LGA.
The Clerk or Responsible Finance Officer advises the Parish on what they may or may not do; the Parish in turn makes decisions and policy and then delegates carrying out those tasks to the Clerk / RFO.
The Parish has a Chair; but this postholder is a first amongst equals and cannot, like any other Councillor, make any decision outside of a meeting.
All decisions are Corporate. This means when a majority agree to do something that is it. No individuals can or should be held accountable for the decision of the whole.
Councillors are not in post to support their own views, but those of the people that they represent and must vote to the benefit of the Parish without any reliance on Party Policital directives.
Getting the work done
To manage the services and activities that Parish provides the work of the parish is split into several committees or working groups. What these committees or working groups are allowed to do, or limited to are governed by their Terms of Reference (TOR).
In 2018/2019 many of these were updated and made more explicit so that simple matters such as a repair or an upgrade could be managed by the special interest group rather than every last decision being made at the full Parish Council meetings.
Task and Finish groups spring up to address certain activites; communities are encouraged by Parish to develop new groups such as the Environmental Group formed in late 2019.