THE ROLE & POWER OF PARISH COUNCILS
There are over 9,000 parish and town councils in England and they form the tier of local government closest to the people. The term "town council" is synonymous with "parish council" in that any parish council can style itself "town council" if it considers it appropriate so to do. Collectively, parish and town councils, and community councils in Wales, are often termed "local councils". The chairman of a town council may be styled "town mayor".
Parish and town councils are local authorities and have a limited number of duties. They do, however, have wide powers, should they decide to use them and they may, with agreement of the district or county council, exercise certain functions normally carried out by those councils.
By their very nature, parish and town councils should maintain a close relationship with the local community. They encourage the public to attend council meetings as observers and they are obliged to organise at least one town or parish meeting each year which all local electors may attend and may raise issues of local concern.
THE POWERS OF PARISH AND TOWN COUNCILS
Some of the more important powers of parish and town councils are listed alphabetically below. Where a power is marked with an asterisk a parish or town council may, in addition to exercising the power itself, help another body to act by giving financial assistance.
Please click on the functions below to view the powers: