ROLE OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
The role of the Parish Council is to represent the interests of the whole community. It is a
part of local government supporting the democratic process. Local Councils provide a
focus for the community to identify concerns and projects, and endeavour to solve them
The Parish Council is a corporate body, and a legal entity, separate from that of
its Members, and is accountable to the local community.
Its decisions are the responsibility of the whole body and are made collectively and by
majority. The Parish Council has been granted powers by Parliament including the
authority to raise money through taxation – the precept, and a range of powers to spend
A Parish Council is an elected body in the first tier of local government. Elections take
place every 4 years. Other tiers, known as principal councils or authorities, have many
legal duties to deliver services such as education, housing, town and country planning,
transport, environmental health and social services. Parish Councils have the legal power
to take action, but they have very few duties and greater freedom to choose what action to
take. They can play a vital part in representing the interests of the communities they serve
and improving the quality of life and the local environment.
The Parish Council is an employer. The Parish Clerk works for and with the Council to
action its decisions.
ROLE OF PARISH COUNCILLORS
The main role of a Parish Councillor is to represent the views of all residents within
the Parish and to listen to, and understand, the views and needs of different groups in the
community (such as young and older people). As a Councillor, there is a responsibility to
be well-informed, especially about diverse local views. Councillors cannot assume that
they represent the interests of electors without consulting them.
Parish Councillors are elected representatives, not volunteers or employees, and serve for
a 4 year term, unless co-opted or elected in a bye-election when they serve until the next
election. They must apply the law and comply with the Code of Member Conduct.
Councillors contribute to the work of the Council by suggesting ideas, influencing policy,
engaging in constructive debate and by responding to the needs and views of the
community. Councillors comment on proposals to ensure the best outcome and vote to
enable the Council to make decisions.
Individual Parish Councillors cannot make decisions on behalf of the Council, but they can
actively lead and engage with local projects. Parish Councillors have no powers outside
of the Council meeting.
Diversity is encouraged. Councillors from different backgrounds better represent the
whole community and possess different enthusiasms, skills, attitudes and interests. Some
Councillors work with ideas while others are very practical; some like accounts while
others prefer reports. The Parish Council needs a wide range of skills to work as a team.
Occasionally there will be a conflict of interest requiring sensitive judgement, and the need
to take difficult decisions in an open, honest and reasoned way. Councillors are also
required to act in an ethical way and to declare an interest when necessary.
• As part of the Parish Council, Councillors may have responsibility for running local
services such as public open spaces, play areas, village halls, community car
schemes and potentially much more.
• Deciding how much to raise through the precept in order to deliver the C ouncil’s
• Influencing and shaping the long term development policy for the Parish, and as
part of the planning process, commenting on planning applications in the Parish.
• Improving the quality of life and the environment in the local area.
• Working to identify issues which are important to the lives of the residents you
• Working to bring about improvements through local projects, lobbying other service
providers and working in partnership with other Parishes, local authorities and
• A Councillor agrees to attend all meetings (reasonably possible) that he or she is
• Councillors together as a team are responsible for the financial decisions made and
A Councillors main task is to bring local issues to the attention of the Council, participate in
debate and help the Council to make decisions on behalf of the local community.