Monday, 26 April 2021
What is a Parish Council? What does it do?
Perhaps the most important thing to say is - what it ISN'T
Parish Councils are not part of the Church of England - though the areas they represent may be based on the historic parishes that the local Anglican (and prior to that the Roman Catholic) churches served. I blame (rather unfairly, this is a common and well established confusion) the Vicar of Dibley. The Council that she is often seen attending - isn't the 'parish council', but the church "Parochial Church Council". Some Parish Councils have changed their name to Town or Community Councils. They retain the same functions, but are less likely to put some people off.
Parish councils are the most local (I got ticked off at a parish council meeting, that I am a member of, for saying that Parish Councils were the lowest form of government in England - I didn't mean it in a derogatory sense!). They cover a much smaller area (and population) than district or unitary authorities). They are not obligatory - in fact if you live in England, you have less than a one in two chance of having your own parish council - but they are currently concentrated in certain parts of England.
The House of Commons Library has an excellent, short but very informative piece, on Parish Councils which you can access by clicking on the link below.
I'll be talking about Council Structures on my PPS Programme which airs on (INSERT WEB ADDRESS)