Council Roles

Representing the People

The local council acts within the framework of legislation conferred on it by Parliament and forms the third tier of local government. Its functions are mainly discretionary, that is they amount to powers as opposed to duties.

The role of the local council may briefly be described as follows:-


As an executive body, the local council has many statutory functions, and, as the elected body of the parish, it has the power of decision. The local council is not answerable to the parish meeting, nor is it bound by any decision of any parish referendum. However, to ignore the views of parishioners strongly expressed at a parish meeting would be unwise since elected representatives could well pay the price at a subsequent election.


The local council often voices the views of local inhabitants on many issues. For example, it may make representations in respect of sensitive planning applications, or at local inquiries held in connection with a planning appeal or local plan. It may also nominate persons to represent its area on various bodies, for example it's local crime and safety partnership.


The local council is often the body required to take a lead in issues affecting the interests of its area. This is a natural role, as the local council may be the only body with initial access to information and with the resources and capability to act. There is an overlap between the promotional and representative roles of the local council.