History of parish councils
Parish councils have their origins in medieval times, in an era when money was seldom used and when few people lived in the countryside. Communities came together in order to organise land management, agriculture and settle disputes.
The current system of parish councils was formed in 1896. There are currently around 10,000 parish councils in the country.
Any community can ask to have a parish council and, in fact, many new parishes have been formed in recent years -particularly in urban areas.
Local councils have evolved considerably over the last 1000 or so years, but one thing remains the same: they are the tier of local government which is closest to individual communities and therefore have the greatest potential for identifying, understanding and addressing the needs of the communities they serve.
While some larger councils are run along party political lines, there is no expectation that Councillors have to join a political party.