What your Parish Council does

Introduction


Waddesdon Parish Council is an elected body of 9 elected Councillors, who have statutory responsibilities for certain aspects of the village. Historically one of the few mandatory, key responsibilities of The Parish Council is the provision, allocation and management of allotments. Other responsibilities consist of maintenance of land owned by the Parish Council including public parks, open spaces and woodlands, hedge & grass cutting and litter bin emptying in these areas, emptying the dog waste collection bins, bus shelters, war memorial, street lights, street furniture, closed St Michael and all Angels Church Churchyard and maintaining the public notice boards.

Other key areas the Council is involved in are as a consultee to Aylesbury Vale District Council planning applications and acting as a community voice to Aylesbury Vale District Council and Buckinghamshire County Councils. Waddesdon Parish Councillors also sit on the committees of the Village Hall, Community Hub, Almshouses, along with various Trusts and the Cricket Club.

Full Council

Full Council meetings take place at 8:00 pm on the third Wednesday of each month in the Business Hub, Village Hall and are open to the public. Full Council meetings usually last around 2 hours and will usually include reports from external bodies including the Police.

Public Time

20 minutes of the meeting are available for the general public to raise any issues contained within the Agenda, which can be raised before the Council. Each member of the public may speak for a maximum of three minutes either by asking a question directed to the Chairman or by making a presentation.

Finance

The Finance and General Purposes Committee meet in October to decide on the estimated expenditure for the next financial year; this recommendation is presented to Full Council’s Budget Meeting in November for ratification. From these figures, the Parish Council’s precept (the amount of money the Council requests in the Council Tax under ‘Parish’) is calculated by Aylesbury Vale District Council.

A monthly summary of expenditure is presented at all Full Council Meetings; and both annual external and internal audits are carried out, together with a bi-annual internal audit.

Committees

The Council currently has Planning and Finance and General Purposes Committees.

Working Parties

Working Parties are set up to discuss various issues. Each group is formed from a composition of Councillors who have agreed to meet and discuss the relevant topics before reporting back to Full Council for ratification. They are an advisory/information collating team; which does not have any decision making powers.
Currently, there are no Working Parties.

About

The Parish Council is a corporate body charged with the provision of the first tier of local government activities.  Legally it is made up of three parts:

CLERK
CHAIRMAN
INDIVIDUAL COUNCILLORS

To ensure that the Parish Council runs smoothly it is essential that each party understands the roles and responsibilities of the others.

THE COUNCIL IS A CORPORATE BODY
The Parish Council is a single corporate body created by statute originating in the late 19th century to carry out a series of functions for its community:

It represents and serves the whole community.
It establishes policies for future action.
It decides how the money will be raised and spent on behalf of the local community.
It is responsible for spending public money.
It may not spend money on any item it is not legally empowered to do so.

In Buckinghamshire, there are three main tiers of local government, each serving a greater geographical area and a larger population.

  • Parish Councils
  • District Councils
  • The County Council

The Parish Council is the statutory body closest to the local population and the decisions it takes are in response to the community as a whole. The Parish Council must take note of and balance the needs of the different elements of the community to get the best results. The Parish Council as a body can decide to join in partnerships with other organisations and can also agree to serve on other bodies.

THE CLERK
The Clerk is employed by the Council to provide executive and administrative support and professional advice to the Council on its activities. The Clerk is not answerable to the individual councillors, or indeed to the Chairman. The Clerk is an independent and objective servant of the Council, recognises that the Council is responsible for all decisions, and takes instruction from the Council as a corporate body. In doing so the Clerk will not favour one Councillor, or group of Councillors, over another.

In law, the title of ‘Proper Officer’ is used and the Council must appoint the officers it needs to carry out its duties. For finance, the proper officer is known as the Responsible Finance Officer. In Waddesdon, the Clerk holds this role.

The Clerk’s workload includes a broad range of activities which are set out in the Clerk’s job description. It also includes research into specific topics on behalf of Councillors in order to give them unbiased information.  The Clerk also advises the Council on:

  • Whether proposed decisions are lawful.
  • The way a decision is carried out.
  • Performance and financial impact on budget objectives.

The Clerk must keep up to date with developments in law and regulation that may affect the Parish Council.

THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman of the Parish Council is a position of authority, responsible for ensuring that effective and lawful decisions are taken at Council meetings. The council must appoint a Chairman annually; the Chairman then signs a declaration of acceptance.

The Chairman works in partnership with the Clerk to ensure that the Council is properly informed for making lawful decisions during meetings.  The Clerk is the legal signatory of the agenda with first say over its content. However, the Clerk will always consult with the Chairman on agenda content.

The Chairman manages Council meetings under the guidance provided by the Council’s Standing Orders.  The Chairman’s role is to:

  • Ensure that discussions are kept moving.
  • Ensure that the meeting is not too lengthy.
  • Ensure that all Councillors are involved in discussions.
  • Ensure that Members keep to the business set out on the Agenda.
  • Ensure that decisions are made.

The Chairman has the casting vote, a personal vote as an ordinary Councillor, and in a tied vote the Chairman uses his second vote as a casting vote in order to achieve a decision. The Chairman cannot make a formal decision on behalf of the Council, and sometimes the Clerk has to decide whether the Chairman’s advice is lawful.

COUNCILLORS AS INDIVIDUALS
The Councillors may only act as a group voting on issues together. It is unlawful for an individual Councillor to make decisions on behalf of the Council. Their role as the electors’ elected representatives is to:

  • Suggest ideas.
  • Engage in constructive debate.
  • Comment on proposals to ensure the best outcome.
  • Vote in Council to enable the Council to reach decisions.

In this key role of representing electors, they have a duty to respond to the needs and views of the community. A well run Parish Council will ensure that the decisions made by the Council, or its directives, are effectively carried out by the Clerk. They are also totally responsible as a group for ensuring that the financial operations of the council are in good order and that the correct financial processes are in place and being applied.

Importantly, they are legally required to conduct themselves ethically and to be open about their own interests. They are required to abide by the Code of Conduct, to register interests and to declare their interests on agenda items at meetings.

COMMITTEES
This Parish Council conducts some of its detailed business through three committees, Finance and General Purposes and Planning, all report back through the Full Council. The Council may occasionally appoint a Sub-Committee or a Working Party to look at a particular issue and report back either to the Full Council or to a formal Committee.

Powers And Duties Of Parish Councils

FunctionsPowers And DutiesStatutory Powers
Agency ArrangementsPower to arrange for the discharge of functions by another local authorityLocal Government Act 1972 s.101
AllotmentsPowers to provide allotments Duty to provide allotment gardens if demand unsatisfiedSmall Holdings Allotments Act 1908 ss 23, 26 and 42
ArchivesPower to make records held available to the public and support local archivesLocal Government (Records) Act 1962, ss1 and 4
Baths and WashhousesPower to provide public baths and washhousesPublic Health Act 1936 ss 221, 222,223 and 227
BorrowingPower to borrow money for statutory functionsLocal Government Act 1972 Sch. 13
Burial Grounds, Cemeteries and crematoria*Power to acquire and maintainOpen Spaces Act 1906, ss 9 and 10: Local Government Act 1972, s 214
Power to provideLocal Government Act 1972, s.214
Power to agree to maintain monuments end memorialsParish Council and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 19970, s. 1
Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteriesLocal Government Act 1972
Bus SheltersPower to provide and maintainLocal Government (Miscellaneous) Act 1953 s.4
Bye-LawsPower to make bye-laws for public walks and pleasure groundPublic Health Act 1875, s 164
Cycle ParksRoad Traffic Regulation Act 1984 s.57 (7)
Swimming pools, bathing places, baths and washhousesPublic Health Act 1936, s 223
Open Spaces and Burial GroundsOpen Spaces Act 1906 ss 12 and 15
Mortuaries and post-mortem roomsPublic Health Act 1936 s. 198
Public BathingPublic Health Act 1936 s. 231
Hiring of pleasure boats in parks and pleasure groundsPublic Health Amendments Act 1907, s 44(2): Public Health Act 1961, s54
CharitiesDuty to receive accounts of parochial charitiesCharities Act 1960, s 32
Power to appoint trustees of parochial charitiesCharities Act 1993, s 79
Clocks*Power to provide public clocksParish Councils Act 1957,s 2
Closed ChurchyardsPowers (and sometimes duty) as to maintainLocal Government Act 1972, s.215
Commons Land and Common PasturesPowers in relation to inclosure as to regulation and management and as to providing common pastureInclosure Act 1845; Local Government Act 1984, s 8(4); Smallholding and Allotments Act 1908, s.34
Power to protect unclaimed common land from unlawful interferenceCommons Registration Act1965,s.9
Power to manage commons and village greens under a district council schemeCommons Act 1899, ss 4 & 5
Conference facilities*Power to provide and encourage the use of facilitiesLocal Government Act 1972, s.144
ConsultationRight to be consulted by principal councils if directed by Secretary of State (England) of by Welsh Assembly (Wales)Local Government and Rating Act1997, s21; Local Government Act 1972, s 33A
Community Centres and Village HallsPower to provide and equip premises for use of clubs having athletic, social or educational objectivesLocal Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s.19
Crime Prevention*Powers to spend money on various crime prevention measuresLocal Government and Rating Act 1997, s 31
Power to (a) install equipment, (b) establish schemes and (c) assist others in so doing for the prevention of crimeLocal Government and Rating Act 1997, s 31
Delegated FunctionsPower to assume a function delegated by another authority

Power to ensure effective discharge of Council functions

Power to employ someone to carry out Council functions

 

Local Government Act 1972ss. 101, 111 and 112

DrainagePower to deal with ponds/ditchesPublic Health Act 1936, s. 260
EducationRight to appoint governors of primary schoolsSchool Standards and Framework Act 1988, para 15 of Sch.10
Entertainment and the Arts*Provision of entertainment and support of the artsLocal Government Act 1972,s145
EnvironmentPower to act for the benefit of the community by tackling and promoting awareness of environmental issuesLocal Government Act 1972,ss 111 and 137
FlagpolesPower to erect flagpoles in highwaysHighways Act 1980, s 144
” Free Resource”Power to incur expenditure not otherwise authorised on anything which in the council’s opinion is in the interests of the area or part of it or all or some of the inhabitantsLocal Government Act 1972,s139
GiftsPower to acceptLocal Government Act 1972 s139
HighwaysPower to repair and maintain footpaths and bridlewaysHighways Act 1980, ss 43 and 50
Power to light roads and public placesParish Councils Act 1957 s 3:Highways Act 1980, s 301: Local Government Act 1972,Sched. 14 para 27
Provision of litter binsLitter Act 1983, 5 and 6
Power to provide parking places for vehicles, bicycles and motorcyclesRoad Traffic Regulation Act 1984, ss 57 and 63
Power to enter into an agreement as to dedication and wideningHighways Act 1980. ss 30 and 72
Power to provide roadside shelters, and omnibus sheltersParish Councils Act 1957, s 1
Consent of Parish Council required for ending maintenance of highway at public expense, or for stopping up or diversion of highwayHighways Act, 1980 ss 47 and 116
Power to complain to District Council as to protection of rights of way and roadside waste
Power to provide traffic signs and other noticesHighways Act 1980, s 130
Power to plant trees, etc., and to maintain roadside vergesRoad Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s 72; Countryside Act 1968
Power to complain to local highway authority that a highway is unlawfully stopped up or obstructedHighways Act 1980, s 96
Power to prosecute for unlawful ploughing of a footpath or bridlewayHighways Act 1980, s 130 Highways Act 1980, s 134
InvestmentsPower to participate in schemes of collective investmentTrustee Investments Act 1962,s11
LandPower to acquire land by agreement, to appropriate land and to dispose ofLocal Government Act 1972, ss 124, 126 and 127
Power to accept gifts of landLocal Government Act 1972s139
Power to acquire land by compulsory purchaseLocal Government Act 1972, s 125
Power to obtain particulars of persons interested in landLocal Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976,s 16
Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds and open spaces and to manage and control themPublic Health Act 1875, s 16;: Local Government Act 1972, Sched. 14, para 27; Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1980, s 44; Open Spaces Act 1906, ss 9 and 10; Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s 19
LightingPower to light roads and public placesParish Councils Act 1957, s Highways Act 1980, s 301
Litter* and dog foulingProvision of receptacles Obliged to keep own land free of litter and dog facesLitter Act 1983, ss 5 an Environmental Protection Act 1990; Litter (Animal Droppings) Order 1991
LotteriesPower to promoteLotteries and Amusements Act 1976, s 7
Mortuaries and post-mortem roomsPowers to provide mortuaries and post-mortem roomsPublic Health Act 1936, s 198
Nature ReservesPower to designate statutory to the nature reserves and marine nature reserves – English Nature can designate sites of specific scientific interestNational Parks and Access Countryside Act 1949, ss 15, 16 and 21; The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1982, ss 36 and 39 and Sched.12
Powers to make management agreements with landowners and the English Nature to manage council-owned reserve land as a nature reserve
NuisancesPower to deal with offensive ditches, ponds and guttersPublic Health Act 1936, s 260
Open SpacesPower to acquire land and maintainPublic Health Act 1875, s 164; Open Spaces Act 1906, ss 9 and 10; Commons Act 1899
Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds and open spaces, and to manage and control them.Public Health Act 1875, s 164; Local Government Act 1972, Sched 14, para 27; Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1980, s 44; Open Spaces Act 1906, ss 9 and 10; Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s 19.
Parish Property and RecordsPowers to direct as to their custodyLocal Government Act 1972, s226
Parking FacilitiesPower to provide parking places for motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicyclesRoad Traffic Regulation Act 1984, ss 57 and 63
PlanningRight to be notified of and power to respond to planning applicationsTown and Country Planning Act 990, Sched. 1 para 8; Local Government Act 1972, Sched. 15 para 20.
Postal and telecommunications facilitiesPower to pay the Post Office, British Telecommunications or any other public telecommunications operator any loss sustained in providing post or telegraph office or telecommunications facilitiesPost Office Act 1954, s 51; Telecommunications Act 1984,s97
Public Buildings and Village HallsPower to provide buildings for offices and for public meetings and assembliesLocal Government Act 1972 s 133
Public ConveniencesPower to providePublic Health Act 19336, s 87
Public EnquiriesPower to make representations at public enquiriesLocal Government Act 1982, s222
Publicise functionsPower to publicise council and local authority functionsLocal Government Act 1982, s. 142
Raising of FinancesPower to raise money through them preceptLocal Government Act 1982, s150
RecordsPower to collect, exhibit and purchase local recordsLocal Government Act Records) Act 1962 ss 1 and 2
Recreation*Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds, and open spaces and to manage and control them.

Power to provide gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday camps

Public Health Act 1875, s 164; Local Government Act 1972, Sched 14 para 27; Public Health Acts Amendment Acts 1890, s 44; Open Spaces Act 1906, ss 9 and 10; Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s 19; Commons Act 1899
Provision of boating poolsPublic Health Act 1962, s 54
Seats and Shelters*Power to provide roadside seats and sheltersParish Councils Act 1957, s 1
Tourism*Power to contribute to the encouragement of tourismLocal Government Act 1972, s. 144
Town and Country PlanningRight to be notified of planning applicationsTown & Country Planning Act 1990, Sched. 1 para 8
Town StatusPower to adopt town statusLocal Government Act 1972, ss 245 and 245B
Traffic CalmingPower to contribute financially to traffic calming schemesLocal Government and Rating Act 1997, s 26
TrainingPower to train CouncillorsLocal Government Act 1972. s175.
Transport*Power to (a) establish car sharing schemes (b) make grants for bus services, (c) provide taxi-fare concessions; (d) investigate public transport, road use and needs; (e) provide information about public transport services

Community Transport Schemes

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s 26-29
Village greensPower to maintain, to make bylaws for and to prosecute for interference with village greensOpen Spaces Act 1906, s 15 Inclosure Act 1857, s 12, Commons Act 1876, s 29
War MemorialsPower to maintain,, repair, protect and adapt war memorialsWar Memorials (Local Authorities Powers) Act 1923, s 1 as extended by Local Government Act 1948, s 133
Water SupplyPower to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water therefrom.Public Health Act 1936, s 125

This list is intended as a summary of the principal functions of Local Council. It is not intended to be a definitive list of such functions.

Where a function is marked with an asterisk *. a Council also has the power to give financial assistance to another person or body performing the same function.

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