Parish Councils are the part of local government closest to the people. It is not a voluntary organisation, a charity or something to do with the church. They serve the smallest area and are responsible for the most local matters. Very importantly, Parish Councils can “precept” – raise a sum collected with the council tax each year to improve facilities and service for local people.
Parish Councils were first created under the Local Government Act 1894 and they are still being created. As Parish Councils were created in law, they can only act within the law by exercising those powers and functions, which have been conferred on them by Statute (ie Acts of Parliament).
The Council represents and serves the whole community. Most communities are made up of smaller communities, often with different interest; a Council’s duty is to serve them all. The Council balances the needs of different elements of all the community to get the best results. Frequently, Councils has the difficult task of deciding what the best result might be.
Parish Councils have a number of basic responsibilities in making the lives of local communities more comfortable, many of which are often taken for granted. Essentially these powers fall within three main categories; representing the whole electorate within the parish; delivering services to meet local needs; and striving to improve the quality of life in the parish.