What is a parish council?
Parish councils are democratically elected local authorities and are the first tier of government. The term “parish council” is synonymous with “town council”, “local council” and “community council”.
They are the first point of contact for anyone concerned with a community issue.
Parish councils work towards improving community wellbeing and providing better services. Their activities fall into three main categories:
- representing the local community;
- delivering services to meet local needs;
- working to improve the quality of life and well-being of the community.
Through an extensive range of discretionary powers, local councils provide and maintain a variety of important local services including allotments, bridleways, burial grounds, bus shelters, car parks, commons and open spaces, community transport schemes, community safety and crime reduction measures, events and festivals, footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, planning, street cleaning and lighting, tourism activities, traffic calming measures, village greens and youth projects.
The funding for parish councils is allocated by the district council and is taken from the area’s council tax; this is called an annual precept. The income and expenditure for the next financial year are calculated in the form of estimates and this amount is added to the local council tax and then returned to the parishes in two yearly instalments. They can also apply for UK grants and funding and EU money under Objectives 1 and 2.