Role and Responsibilities of Parish Councils
Parish and Town Councils form the first tier of local government and, as statutory local authorities, have the powers to provide many services and facilities. A Parish Council may not take a decision that involves spending money unless the matter is included on the agenda for a Parish Council meeting. It must make decisions in an open, accountable and transparent way and its accounts are subject to internal and external audit. Each Parish Council is required to set an annual budget or Parish Precept to fund the work it undertakes in the community. The Parish Council has the statutory right to be consulted on local planning applications. It is also consulted on occasion by upper tiers of government thereby making input to higher level decision-making.
Parish Councils have responsibilities for various local amenities; for example:
- Consultation on planning applications
- Provision and maintenance of footway lighting throughout the village
- Grass cutting to open spaces
- Consultation over traffic signing, speed limits and other related matters
- Consultation over street naming
- Parish facilities such as bus shelters, seats, notice boards
- Maintenance of the churchyard#
- Provision and maintenance of trees on Council-owned land
- Maintenance of footpaths
#At Ashbury, the Parish Council maintains the old churchyard around the church, whereas the churchyard extension nearby is maintained by the Parochial Church Council.
The Parish Council must also conduct regular Parish Council meetings, manage elections and represent the interests of residents on appropriate matters.
All Parish Councillors are required to adopt a Code of Conduct which individual Councillors must sign up to. Oxford Council Councillor’s Code of conduct 2022