Want to know more about what a parish council does and its wider role in local government? Here’s some of the key information you need. If there’s a specific issue you need help with, please get in touch.
What does the parish council do?
Parish councils are the first tier of local government. Broadly speaking,they are responsible for representing the parish community, delivering some local services and improving community cohesion, wellbeing and quality of life.
Responsibilities can vary between councils, especially between urban and rural areas. However, in general parish councils directly oversee or represent local views on the following areas:
Burial grounds and churchyard maintenance
Community views on planning applications
Maintenance of common areas, eg playgrounds, parkland and bridleways
Bus shelters, litter bins and monuments
Community and youth events
Signage and road safety measures
When does the council meet?
The council meets monthly, with the exception of August and December. Normally meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month and rotate between the parish’s various public halls. Occasionally the council meets in closed session, normally to agree the annual budget and other financial matters.
Are meetings open to the public?
Yes, we welcome parishioners and members of the public to attend meetings, especially to raise a specific concern or contribute to council discussions regarding a particular item on the agenda.
It’s also worth noting that district councillors often attend parish council meetings, usually to discuss and liaise on planning issues. So it’s a good opportunity to meet with them if you’d like to have direct contact over a particular matter.
How is the parish council funded?
The council is funded by a ‘precept’, which is essentially a parish tax that forms part of your overall council tax bill. Each year the council agrees the required budget and votes to set the precept level at a special meeting. The council then formally requests the funds from the county council budget. The council’s aim is always to ensure there’s enough to cover local services and support the community, whilst ensuring value for money for all parishioners.
It’s also important to note that, with the exception of the Parish Clerk, all councillors are unpaid volunteers, and that strict controls are in place to ensure there are no financial conflicts of interest in any areas of the council’s work.
Where do meetings take place?
Monthly meetings rotate between the parish’s various public halls, to reflect our commitment to all areas of the parish. These include St George’s Hall and Jubilee Hall in Blockley, Paxford Village Hall, Little Village Hall Blockley and Draycott Mission Hall.
I have an issue I’d like to raise. Who do I contact?
If you have a general query or issue for the council to consider, please contact the Parish Clerk, Ms Sarah Longbottom, on 01386 701602 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note the Parish Clerk’s working hours are Mon-Weds 9am-2pm.
What powers does the parish council have?
The council has the power to tax parishioners to support the maintenance and wellbeing of the parish, as defined in the 1894 Local Government Act and subsequent legislation.
This includes powers to provide a range of public facilities such as village
halls, play areas and allotments. Councils are also allowed to sponsor public events, fund crime prevention measures and other community initiatives.
Parish councils are also a key consultative body when it comes to planning.
We must be consulted by either the district or county council on all planning applications, including proposals to carry out sewerage works and rights
of way surveys.
How can I stay informed about council activities?
Follow us on Facebook to keep regularly informed about council activities, as well as community initiatives and other local events that we support.
We also publish a monthly article in The Voice magazine to summarise newsworthy developments.
Important updates concerning details of upcoming meetings, as well as public consultations are posted on the various public noticeboards around the parish.
I have an idea about how to improve life in the local community. Would the parish council like to hear it?
What’s the difference between the
parish, district and county councils?
Parish, district and county councils are the different tiers of local government
in rural areas. They are all elected bodies, each with a different yet related
set of responsibilities.
County councils are responsible for services across the whole of a county, like education, transport and highways, fire and public safety, libraries and waste management.
Blockley Parish falls under the jurisdiction of Gloucestershire County Council.
District councils usually cover things like recycling and rubbish collection, council tax, leisure facilities, housing and planning applications.
Our parish is overseen by Cotswold District Council.
District councillors often attend parish council meetings, usually to discuss and liaise on planning issues. The district council also grants the annual budget (or ‘precept’) that is used to fund the parish council’s activities.
Parish councils are responsible for things like maintaining common areas, consulting on local planning and supporting community initiatives. For more information on this, see the FAQ above.