The term Local Council is used universally to describe Parish Councils, Town Councils, Neighbourhood and Community Councils. Local Councils are the first tier of local government. For further information have a look at the National Association of Local Council website.
Councils have legal powers which determine what they can (have the power to do) and cannot do. The regulations which determine the duties Councils must do and what powers it is able to do in order to carry out its functions are set out by Acts of Parliament.
When a Councillor is elected or co-opted to join the Council they must sign a register of interest. You can view Councillor’s register of interest for Millbrook Parish Council on Cornwall Council website.
The Council is a corporate body and therefore the decisions ‘it’ makes are made collectively. The key responsibility of a Parish Councillor is to serve the community it represents. Councillors must abide a the Code of Conduct.
The table below lists some of the duties and powers of a Local Council (in England)
|In addition to the Annual Meeting a Council must hold at least 3 meetings a year||Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12, 8(1)||Duty|
|Appointment a Responsible Finance Officer||Local Government Act 1972, Section 151,||Duty|
|Provide burial grounds & cemeteries||Local Government Act 1972, Section 214||Power|
|Provide and maintain bus shelters||Local Government Act 1972, s14 (6)||Power|
|Repair and maintain public footpaths & bridleways||Highways Act 1980, schedule43 & schedule 50||Power|
|Acquire and maintain land for public recreation||Public Health Act 1875, Schedule 164||Power|
|Acquire and maintain land for open spaces||Open spaces Act 1906, Schedules 9 and 10||Power|
|Act as a leading body for Neighbourhood Development Plan||Localism Act 2011, Schedule 9||Power|
In addition administrative statutory duties which the Council must adhere to (such as the appointment of a Chairman, Responsible Finance Officer (RFO), independent internal auditor and adoption of the Code of Conduct the Council) the Council must comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998, which has now been superseded by the Data Protection Act 2018 (and GDPR) and the Equality Act 2010. As with any other employer the Council must comply with employment law.
In June 2011, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published a list of legal duties placed on local authorities. To view the list click here or the link below https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-local-government-statutory-duties-summary-of-responses–2.