A parish council is the smallest and most localised tier of local government in the UK and is a properly constituted local authority.
Parish Councils provide a focus for local activity in their communities, encouraging local people to make their views known, particularly on issues about maintaining and improving the character of the local area. A key role, then, of Parish Councils is to express those views to other public bodies, such as the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, particularly on planning applications and other environmental or quality of life concerns.
West Bretton Parish Council has six Parish Councillors who will serve until 2019. The Parish Council aims to help residents and be a point of contact for ideas and suggestions for improvements in the village. The work of the six members of the Council is voluntary, and the members give their time freely to help enhance the village for the benefit of all residents.
The Localism Act 2011 requires parish councillors to publicly declare if they have certain financial (“pecuniary”) and any other (“non-pecuniary”) interests. These declarations are logged in a “Register of Interests” which is stored by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. The declarations are public documents and all members of the Council are required to complete the forms.
The Parish Council has legal responsibilities as an employer and the Clerk acts as the Responsible Financial Officer and administrator and advises the Parish Council on lawful decision making and implementation.
The powers and duties, and the manner in which a parish council operates is laid out in local government statute and regulations. To comply with those regulations the council collectively conducts its business in accordance with a document agreed by the council from time to time known as Standing Orders. Individually, members must also conduct themselves in accordance with an agreed Code of Conduct. These documents are available for the public to view by contacting the Clerk.