Parish, Community and Town Councils are the first tier of Local Government with discretionary legal powers to provide facilities and services for their communities and represent them to other authorities and bodies. Today there is a trend for more and more decisions to be taken at a local level.
Hertfordshire is served by 11 Town Councils, 102 Parish Councils, 2 Community Councils and 10 Parish Meetings.
This knowledge base is only available to member councils and provides a valuable resource of expertise available within Hertfordshire councils.
Information is continually added, please let us know what your council does if it is not already there.
All councils listed have agreed to their details being made available for this purpose.
Roles and Powers
What makes up a parish council?
A parish council in England consists of such number of councillors as may be fixed by the district/borough council, not being less than five. Where a parish has a relatively large population, or where the population is scattered over a wide area, or where one parish contains two or more sections with separate interests, it may be convenient to divide the parish into wards for the purpose of electing councillors.
In Hertfordshire four parish councils are composed of two civil parishes.
A councillor is elected not only to represent his or her constituents but also to take decisions affecting the area of the council as a whole.
He or she has many different roles including corporate decision maker, corporate employer, policy formulator, representative on external bodies, citizens' advocate and corporate protector of their parish and its environment.
Learn more about becoming a parish or town councillor.
The Clerk is the head of the council's administration and is the 'Proper Officer'. The Clerk ensures that the business of the council runs smoothly and efficiently and is conducted in accordance with the law. He or she is often also the Responsible Financial Officer and ensures that the council's financial transactions are properly authorised and recorded.
Brief guide to the work of the Clerk during the year.
List of Council Documents (Word Document, 96 Kb)
A list of council documents held by the Clerk, some mandatory, others specific for your council
Parish council legislation. The powers available to Parish and Town Councils.
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A local council must hold an annual meeting and at least three other full council meetings each year. Public notice of meetings has to be given, at least three clear days, and every member of the council receives a summons specifying the business to be transacted at a council meeting. Only specific business included in the summons and on the public notice can be transacted at a council meeting. There are statutory provisions dealing with aspects of meetings, for example, quorum, manner of voting, and the recording of minutes.
The public, including the press, are entitled to attend council meetings under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960.
Parish councillors are elected for a term of four years. Elections are normally held on the first Thursday in May.
The right to vote at any local government election is dependent upon the person's name having been entered in the current register of local government electors which is published annually.
In all cases, the ordinary election of parish councillors is conducted by means of nomination of candidates by two electors and, if necessary, a poll. A person (unless disqualified) is qualified to be elected to be a councillor if he/she is a British subject, a Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Irish Republic if on the relevant day he/she is 18 years of age or over and (1) is and continues to be a local elector for the parish, (2) has during the whole of the 12 months preceding that day occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish, (3) his/her principal or only place of work during those 12 months has been in the parish, or he/she has during the whole of those 12 months resided in the parish or within three miles of it.
Local Council Award Scheme
The Local Council Award Scheme exists to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils, and to provide a framework to support all local councils to meet their full potential.
All local councils want to serve their local communities and make a real difference to the lives of the people that live there. The scheme offers councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed by their peers, and to put in place the conditions for continued improvement.
The Award Scheme has been designed to both provide the tools and encouragement to those councils at the beginning of their improvement journeys, as well as promoting and recognising councils that are at the cutting edge of the sector. It is only through the sector working together to share best practice, drive up standards and supporting those who are committed to improving their offer to their communities that individual councils and the sector as a whole will reach its full potential.
The Parish Meeting may only precept for expenditure relating to specific functions, powers and rights which have been conferred on it by legislation.
The main powers are set out in sections 9 and 13 and Part III of schedule 12 to the Local Government Act 1972 as amended ("the 1972 Act"). Unless indicated otherwise, references in this note to sections are references to sections in the 1972 Act and references to paragraphs are references to paragraphs in schedule 12 to the 1972 Act.
Section 39(2) of the Local Government Finance Act 1972 provides that a Parish Meeting is a precepting authority.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC)
Member Councils can access all Legal Topic Notes. The screen initially displays "Not Allowed" so you will need to enter a username and password in the bottom left hand panel. Members can view these using the link below.
If you require a specific LTN, you can download it direct from this site or contact HAPTC for an electronic or hard copy. All Legal Topic Notes are constantly being reviewed and updated in line with new legislation.
The Society of Local Council Clerks