What does a Parish Council do and how is it funded?
Parish Councils are local authorities first created by statute in 1894. Parish Councils are the tier of local government closest to the people. In Charlton St Peter & Wilsford our local authority is Wiltshire Council, who organise the four yearly Parish Council elections.
Some councillors are not elected but co-opted onto the Council. This happens when there are not enough candidates at the time of an election to fill all the vacancies or, when a vacancy occurs mid-term, the electorate does not call for an election. In these circumstances, the existing elected councillors, provided there is a quorum (i.e. one third of the whole numbers of members with a minimum of three), can co-opt members to fill the remaining vacancies. The Parish Councillors are all volunteers and receive neither pay nor expenses.
The Parish Council elects its chairman annually at its Annual Meeting, in May. There is no minimum or maximum term that a chairman may serve.
The Clerk is employed by the Council to provide administrative support and professional advice for the council’s activities. The Clerk is responsible for preparing the agenda for meetings, taking the minutes and executing business arising. The Parish Council is also a consultee on planning applications in the parish, but Wiltshire Council, as the planning authority, manages the process and determines whether permission is granted or declined.
Your Parish Councillors contribute to the work of the whole council by suggesting ideas; engaging in constructive debate; responding to the needs and views of the community; commenting on proposals to ensure the best outcome; providing local representatives for the Council's Community Area Boards; attending at presentations/workshops on council matters organised by Wiltshire Council; and voting on issues to enable the council to make decisions. The decisions that the Council takes are the responsibility of the Council as a whole.
Parish Councils have the power to raise money by means of the precept. The amount needed is agreed by the Parish Council and then collected by Wiltshire Council along with the council tax.
Charlton St Peter & Wilsford Parish Council is committed to promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct. The Parish Council's Standing Orders sets out the Members' Code of Conduct as adopted under Section 27 of the Localism Act 2011. Each Councillor is required to register their interests with Wiltshire Council. The register is maintained under section 81(1) of the Local Government Act 2000 and refers to those personal interests which fall within a category mentioned in paragraph 8(1)(a) of the Code of Conduct.
These can be inspected on Wiltshire Council’s website here.