Legal

Duties and Powers

A Parish Council has certain duties that it is legally required to take responsibility for and also has a number of powers that it is permitted to take responsibility for. Outside of a clearly defined list of duties and powers the Parish Council is not legally permitted to take actions or spend public money.

The link below provides a link to a PDF document stating the list of permitted powers and duties and the associated Act in which they are described. Please be aware this list is not exhaustive.

Furthermore the parish council MAY NOT be involved in the provision of museums, the provision of Housing or the provision of any health care related activities.

Standing Orders

Standing Orders are the operating rules adopted by the Parish Council to ensure that it is able to fulfil it’s duties and also provides a framework that the Council must adhere to in any activities that it is involved in. Standing Orders are based on guidelines and a model issued by NALC and do not replace any statutory rules that apply to the Council. Should any conflicts arise between Standing Orders and Statute then any Act of Parliament will always take precedence.

The following link will allow you to view or download the draft Standing Orders that are before the Council. These have yet to be adopted and are subject to acceptance.

Publication scheme

Brailes Parish Council accepts the duty placed on it by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to adopt and maintain a publication scheme.

The Parish Council has agreed to adopt the model publication scheme for local councils as approved by the Information Commissioner.

The Council adopted the core classes(without optional documents) and will adopt the additional class for Burial Grounds as and when the purchase of land is completed and the ground is put into use.

Members of the public can gain access to Brailes Parish Council’s Publication Scheme through the Clerk to the Council, by prior arrangement.

If copies of any documentation agreed under the publication scheme is required, then there will be no laid down charge but the Council would wish to be re-imbursed if it incurs additional expenses to the Council.

For any further information or to contact the Clerk, details are:

Amanda Wasdell

Denwyn, Shipston Road, Whatcote, CV36 5EB – 07581 743403

 

Model Publication Scheme for Local Councils

1. This is a model publication scheme for parish, town and community councils (known collectively as ‘local councils’) in England and Wales. Local councils are the first tier of local government. There are over 10,000 such councils in England and Wales and they have a wide range of powers at their disposal.

The purpose of the scheme is to be a means by which local councils can make a significant amount of information available routinely, without waiting for someone to specifically request it. The scheme is intended to encourage local councils to publish more information proactively and to develop a greater culture of openness and transparency.

2. In accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the scheme specifies the classes of information which the local councils publish or intend to publish. Bearing in mind local councils are so diverse in size and functions it was decided the most practical approach was that the model scheme should firstly be comprised of a number of core classes of information which are mandatory. However, it also includes a number of optional documents (within those core classes) as well as a group of totally ‘new’ optional classes. Any optional documents within a core class of information are clearly specified therein. The idea behind such an approach is that councils can incorporate the optional documents and classes as they see fit to reflect the information they provide to the general public on a local basis. It is not however, a prerequisite that a council adopts any of the optional documents or classes. The intention behind the inclusion of optional classes and documents is to add a degree of choice and flexibility in the scheme.

In some cases a class of information sets out a range of information which is excluded from publication. Where that is the case the reasons behind the decision to exclude are clearly stated. Excluded throughout the model scheme is general correspondence sent or received by councils and all information relating to private individuals by virtue of it being personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998.

In certain classes a limitation on the age of some documents has also been stipulated. For the avoidance of doubt this does not mean information beyond that date cannot be obtained, it simply indicates that it is not available as a matter of course within the model publication scheme.

If original documents are more readily available from another source, details of that organisation are again specified in the scheme.

3. The information contained in each class will be available in a variety of formats namely in hard copy on request from the Clerk of the council, by inspection at a council office or suitable premises by prior appointment or, where a council has a website some of the information may be available thereon.

4. Reasonable charges may be raised for the provision of copies of the documents/information listed in each of the classes.

The classes are as follows:

CORE CLASSES OF INFORMATION

1) Council Internal Practice and Procedure:

Minutes of Council, committee and sub-committee meetings – limited to the last 2 years. Councils Annual report to Parish Meetings.Procedural Standing Orders.

Optional documents: Agendas and supporting papers for council, committee and sub-committee meetings – limited in each case to the forthcoming/immediate meeting. Terms of reference for Committees.

2. Code of Conduct:

Members Declaration of Acceptance of Office, Members Register of Interests and Register of Members Interests Book.

3. Periodic Electoral Review:

This is information concerning changes to the electoral arrangements for parish, town and community councils. It includes recommendations for the creation of new wards, the amendment of existing wards, proposals for the names of new wards and alterations to the number of councillors to be elected to the council.

Information relating to the last Periodic Electoral Review of the council area and information relating to the latest boundary review of the council area.

4. Employment Practice and Procedure

Terms and conditions of employment. Job Description

Optional documents:

Equal Opportunities Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Staffing Structure

Exclusions – ‘personal records’ i.e. appraisals, employee specific salary details, disciplinary records, sickness records and the like by virtue of being personal data under the Data Protection Act 1998

5. Planning Documents:

Responses to planning applications

Exclusions – Copies of planning consultations, the Development Plan, Structure Plan, Local Plan and Right of Way/Footpath maps all of which are available from the local planning and/or highway authority respectively.

6. Audit and Accounts:

Annual return form – limited to the last financial year. Annual Statutory report by auditor (Internal and External) – limited to the last financial year. Receipt/Payment books, receipt books of all kinds, Bank Statements from all accounts – limited to last financial year. Precept request – limited to last financial year. VAT Records – limited to last financial year. Financial Standing Orders and Regulations. Assets Register – this will include details of commons/village greens owned by the council including management schemes for commons as well as village halls, community centres and recreation grounds. Risk Assessments.

Optional documents:

Loan sanction approvals. Fees and charges applied by the council. Safety inspection reports for example for playgrounds. Register/File of members allowances

Exclusions: all commercially sensitive information e.g. quotations and tenders, loan documentation and insurance policies. With regard to quotations and tenders, this information is treated as confidential to ensure that the whole tender process is fair i.e. if tender information is released to a third party prior to the end of the tender period those who initially submitted tenders could be undercut and/or unfairly disadvantaged.

OPTIONAL CLASSES OF INFORMATION

12. Burial Grounds:

Plans and General Policies

Exclusions – all documentation relating to individual applications and registrations under both privacy and data protection laws.