The role of the Chairman is to Chair the meetings in an unbiased leadership role, to ensure smooth running of the meetings and that effective and lawful decisions are taken, whilst adhering to the Standing Orders, assisted by the Clerk.
To determine that the meeting is properly constituted, a quorum is present and employees act in compliance with the local policy guidelines and Standing Orders as set by the Parish Council.
If present at a council, the chairman must preside, and he has control of its procedure for the purpose of enforcing the law and good order.
The Chair is elected by the members of the Council at the Annual Council meeting and serves for twelve months.
The Clerk is Responsible Officer employed by the Council (under section 112 (1) of the Local Government Act1972) to provide administrative support for the Council's activities.
The Clerk is often called upon by the Chairman of the meeting to give guidance on a range of formal and informal matters. The Clerk acts as a conduit for information to the Parish, Parish Councillors, the Chairman and external agencies.
It is a Clerks duty to initiate and issue a signed Summons and agenda, to send to every member of the Parish Council prior to the meeting and publicise within the Parish (within the legal times-scales). The Clerk will often liaise with the Chairman regarding items on the agenda.
It is a legal requirement to produce minutes from the meetings and often it is the Clerk who has a duty to issue the draft minutes. These will be presented at the next meeting and the Clerk has a responsibility to ensure they are signed by the Chairman.
The Clerk will advise and give clear guidance to the Chair and Parish Council members on Local Policy Matters, ethical and procedural matters before decisions are reached, even when that guidance may be unpalatable.
In Winterslow the Clerk is also our Responsible Financial Officer and therefore handles all financial transactions, bank accounts, financial reporting, VAT, and budget administration.
All Councillors are elected by the electors of the Parish every four years (May 2017). For a vacancy there may be an election or a Councillor may be co-opted onto the Parish Council by a majority vote.
Within 28 days of election, or co-option to the Council, all Councillors have a duty to register financial and other interests by completing a Code of Conduct form and also register their Interests on the Local Government Authority (Wiltshire Council) web-site.
A Councillor must adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life which ensures transparency and accountability (Committee on Standards in Public Life, 31st May, 1995)
The primary purpose of a Councillor is to represent the views of all residents within the parish
A Councillor has a duty to attend meetings and represent the views of all the electorate in the Parish and remain unbiased in making informed decisions upon hearing all of the information presented to them at meetings.
A Councillor has a responsibility for raising matters that the council can consider and then take appropriate decisions (by vote).
A Councillor has a responsibility to contribute to the formation of the Council’s policies and plans by active involvement in council meetings, committees and working parties.
Councillors will often take personal responsibility for a specific ‘portfolio’ and/or a specific project in order to improve the effectiveness of the Council.
A very useful source of information is The Good Councillors’ Guide which can be found at:
Parish and Town Councils are elected corporate bodies who work within the realms of the law and
can only do what legislation requires or permits them to do.
To give views, on behalf of the community, on planning applications and other proposals that affect the parish
Work in partnership with other local and statutory bodies to achieve benefits for the parish
Alert relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs to be undertaken
To establish policies for action and deciding how money will be raised and spent on behalf of the community; ensuring public money is spent lawfully whilst achieving the best value for money.