In England, Parish Councils are the community's first tier of Local Government created by statute in 1894 to take over social welfare and civic duties in towns and villages. Prior to this time, a variety of groups based around ecclesiastical (church) parishes had responsibility for these matters, which dated back to feudal times.
Parish Councils play a vital role in engaging with local people and help to shape their communities. They have a wide range of powers from the provision of parks and open spaces, commenting on planning applications in the parish, maintaining closed Church of England churchyards and supporting crime prevention. They can also lobby for improvements and generally help raise the quality of life for their communities.
The Parish Council is a Statutory Body serving the electorate, which raises its own Precept (a form of Council Tax) to deliver services to meet local need and strives to improve the quality of life and community well-being.
When do Local Council elections take place?
Parish Councillors are elected by local residents with elections taking place every four years.
If a vacancy arises before the next local election, for example when a local Councillor resigns, a by-election may be held to fill the vacancy.
If the vacancy remains unfilled, the Parish Council may co-opt a new Member.