Role of the Parish Council
Parishes are the smallest areas of civil administration in England and their Town and Parish Councils provide the statutory tier of local government closest to the people. (Civil parishes should not be confused with Church of England ecclesiastical parishes and their Parochial Church Councils.)
Within Cumbria there are 268 parishes covering the whole county, of these 268 parishes, 233 are served by a Town or Parish Council that is elected every four years and the remainder have a Parish Meeting that is required to meet at least twice a year. In Cumbria there are currently three tiers of local government – the County Council, District/Borough Councils and Town/Parish Councils and Parish Meetings.
Town and Parish Councils are an essential part of the structure of local democracy and have a vital role in acting on behalf of the communities they represent.
- Give views, on behalf of the community, on planning applications and other proposals that affect the parish.
- Undertake projects and schemes that benefit local residents.
- Work in partnership with other bodies to achieve benefits for the parish.
- Alert relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken.
- Help the other tiers of local government keep in touch with their local communities.
Town and Parish Councils have a wide range of legal duties and powers, including the power to raise money through the local council tax.
A list of duties and powers can be found on the Cumbria Association of Local Councils website: http://www.calc.org.uk/about/powersanddutiestable.asp
Parish councils are creatures of statute which means they are set up and controlled by Acts of Parliament. Law determines:
- what the council must do (its duties)
- what it can choose to do (its powers)
- what it cannot do
The Parish Council Clerk
The role of the Clerk is to ensure that the Council conducts business properly, to provide independent, objective and professional advice and to ensure that business is conducted within the law.
A brief summary of the role of the Clerk includes:
- General administration of the Parish Council’s paperwork, emails and telephone calls.
- Ensure that the Parish Council conducts its business lawfully and in accordance with policy and procedure.
- Preparation and distribution of meeting papers and ensuring the public are informed of meeting times.
- Manage & maintain the resources and documentation of the Council
- Managing the annual budget for the Council and preparing financial statements as required.
- Monitoring and balancing the Council’s accounts and preparing records for audit and VAT purposes.
- Ensuring that correct financial records are kept and that internal checking regimes are established.
- Receiving and reporting on invoices for goods and services to be paid for by the Council and ensuring invoices/ accounts are settled within due timescales.
- Implementing the Council’s decisions.
- Overseeing the implementation of projects.
- Supervising staff (if any).
- Keeping up to date by training /qualification.
The role of Clerk for Pennington Parish Council is a part time position of 10 hours per week and aims to respond to queries as soon as possible within office hours (9am-5pm Monday-Friday).