How does a parish council work?

Parish councils meet regularly to address their responsibilities. Apart from councillors, each parish council has a clerk who provides administration for the council.

Find your parish clerk's contact details

Parish councils are responsible for managing their own budgets. They are financed through the precept, an amount of money calculated as an estimate for the coming financial year and collected as part of your Council Tax. This money is used to improve facilities and services for local people. Parish councils can also apply for other funding, such as grants and awards.

Parish councils actively encourage input from residents on what the community needs, so that they can budget for that activity.

Parish councils have a range of powers and duties in relation to the communities they serve.

Information about the role of a parish councillor and guidance on standing for election can be found on the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) website which provides these publications:

The Localism Act, which came into force in 2011, passes more power to communities and encourages those communities to become more self-reliant. Community rights powers are a cornerstone of this legislation.

These involve:

Find out more detail at the My Community website.

For further details on the Localism Act and the various rights, visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Parish councils can extend their powers to do anything to improve the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their community as long as it is within the law. To exercise this right, a parish council must adopt the general power of competence, subject to fulfilling certain criteria.

There is more detail available on the General power of competence: impact assessment