Parish Councils (also known as local councils) are the first tier of local government in the UK. They serve electorates, are independently elected and raise their own precept (a form of council tax). Their activities fall into three main categories:
- representing the local community
- delivering services to meet local needs
- striving to improve quality of life and community well-being
A parish council may also be known as a ‘town’, ‘community’, ‘village’ or ‘neighbourhood’ council.
What is the Parish Charter?
The Parish Charter provides a framework for Bath & North East Somerset Council and the parishes within the district to work together, maintain good working relationships and develop an effective partnership to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.
Parish Councils can act as a sounding board for local opinion and in many cases (eg Planning, Highways, Licensing Applications etc), they are a statutory consultee.
Within Bath and North East Somerset there are 51 parishes (including 3 parish meetings) and you can find a list of them here. The City of Bath is not parished.
Why is the Charter being revised?
The Parish Charter was first adopted in 1999 and updated in 2006. Since then there have been a number of changes including the creation of three new parishes in the district as well as increasing financial constraints on local services. However, there are also opportunities to improve the way we work together through advances in digital technology.
2016-18 Revision Process
A Steering Group, chaired by Cllr Paul Myers (Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration) and comprising representatives of parishes as well as officers from Bath & North East Somerset Council, has overseen the process. They have met regularly since November 2016, inviting relevant Cabinet members and senior officers to discuss views and experiences.
A consultation with parishes on the revised draft took place during 2017 which had a response rate of 84% (43 of 51 parishes responded). The responses to this can be found on the right hand side.
The revised Charter was adopted by Cabinet in April 2018 and endorsed by Full Council in May 2018.
The Parish Liaison meeting is a joint consultative body set up to consider issues of common interest between the parishes and Bath & North East Somerset Council. There are normally three meetings per year. Parishes are each entitled to send their nominated representative and Clerk to the meetings. The Local Councils Association (ALCA B&NES) is entitled to send representation to the meetings in their own right. The meetings are usually chaired by the Chair of Bath & North East Somerset Council and, depending on the agenda, Cabinet Members may attend to represent their portfolio. The presentations and information given at the last meeting (30th May 2018), can be found on the right hand side. To see meeting dates, agendas and minutes for the meetings click here.