Parish Councillors

The council as a corporate body

The council is a single corporate body created in 1894 primarily to exclude the church from local government. The Local Government Act 1972 was created to give more freedom to parish councils to carry out a series of functions on behalf of the community without constraints from the central government. The council has been granted powers by parliament and is responsible for its actions as a corporate body

The council represents and serves the whole community. It establishes policies for future actions and will decide how money is raised and spent on behalf of the local community from setting a budget annually. The council has the authority to raise money through the precept which is a tax collectable from the council tax of the local authority.

Individual councillors work together as a corporate body to provide services and manage parish land, buildings and properties, also carrying out maintenance and improvements. The council must hold at least four meetings a year, one of which must be the Annual meeting in which the chair and various committees are voted in. Most decisions about local council business are taken at formal meetings which the public have a right to attend.


A councillor’s main role is to act as a representative of his local council. A councillor is the holder of a public office and is a volunteer. A councillor is elected by the electors of the parish every four years. A councillor may also be co-opted into the council too. All councillors are required by law to complete a declaration of acceptance of office and to provide a written undertaking to accept the council code of conduct. A councillor must also complete a register of interest.

No individual councillor can make a decision on their own only as a council as a whole and they make decisions on behalf of the local community. A councillor has a duty to respond to the views and needs of the community. A councillor is legally required to conduct themselves ethically and be open about their own interests.

A councillor is expected to attend council meetings and to make informed contributions on business debates that need to have a decision made. Even though the RFO is responsible for the all the financial management a councillor is also responsible as part of the council for ensuring that the financial records are all in good order and managed by the RFO.


The chairman is a statutory role responsible for ensuring that effective, lawful and impartial decisions are taken at council meetings. It is a position of authority. The council are obliged to appoint a chair under the Local Government Act 1972 section 14. The chairman works with the clerk to ensure that the council is properly informed for the making of lawful decisions during meetings. The chairman should also ensure that during the meeting discussions are not too lengthy and that all councillors are involved. A chairman should suggest content to the clerk for the agenda but the clerk has the overall say what is put in the agenda. They must also ensure that business is only kept to what is on the agenda and that decisions are made and recorded.

The chair is elected by the members of the council at The Annual Council meeting and will serve for 12 months at a time. To make sure decisions are made the chair will have the casting vote if any vote is tied. The chair is often the face of the council in a civic capacity and will speak at various functions on behalf of the council. The chairman on his own has no power to make any decisions. Any resignations by other councillors or clerks should be given to the chairman.

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