What is a Parish Council?
A Parish Council is a civil local authority. It is called a local council to distinguish it from the principal councils - District, County, Unitary and London Boroughs. It is the most locally elected body within the English system of local government.
Most such councils were formed by the Local Government Act in 1894 when after hundreds of years, civil matters were separated from church matters, creating the civil parish.
Parish councils do not have a large number of statutory duties (things they must do my law) but their role is, broadly, to represent the local community, provide services to meet local needs and improve quality of life and community well being. To deliver this role, they have many statutory discretionary powers. That means they can exercise the powers voluntarily but do not have to. For example, they may own and manage village land, such as Kettleburgh Pound. A council may since 2012 apply for a 'General Power of Competence' that increases the scope of what it can do further still, but 'the bar is set high' for achieving this status. For example, the council's Clerk must possess the demanding CILCA qualification.
Parish councils are as diverse as the communities they serve and this is a great strength. Your council can respond to your needs with a sensitivity that is more difficult for the higher tiers of government.
More information on: local councils in England; the role of local councillors; and what you need to do if you would like to stand as a candidate in local parish council elections, is available in the Booklets and Resources section on the National Association of Local Councils web site.
The tiers of Local Government
Kettleburgh Parish Council is the first tier of a three tier system of local government, with East Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council being the next two tiers, all elected by people within the relevant areas.
Who are my County and District Councillors?
County Councillor (Carlford Division): Elaine Bryce
Who are my Parish Councillors?
Kettleburgh Parish Council has eight seats for members, who must be elected every four years, but councillors can be co-opted at any time. The most recent election was held on 4th May 2023 and taking account of subsequent co-options, the following are the current councillors:
Edward Jardine (Chairman), Bridge Farm, Mill Lane; email email@example.com
Rob Booth, The Timbers, Church Road; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Thomas, Corner House; email email@example.com
Louise Clark; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Garland; email email@example.com
John Mealing; email firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the Parish Council operate?
It's always worth remembering the three basic rules for councils:
- A council must do what the law requires it to do
- A council may only do what the law says it may do
- A council cannot do anything unless permitted by legislation
Day-to-day, the Council is subject to standards and policies that govern its procedures. It has a set of rules called Standing Orders by which the Council, its elected Members and its Officers (currently just the Clerk) conduct their activities.
All council decisions must be taken by the council as a whole, not individual councillors, or by correspondence, at a properly set up meeting. A defiined minimum number of councillors must be present - this is called a 'quorum'. Please refer to the Meetings Pages for more detail.
If you would like a detailed insight into how councils and councillors are required to operate, or perhaps you are thinking about becoming a councillor, read the Good Councillors's Guide.
How can I keep in touch with council business?
To be kept in touch with parish council business and receive items that the council is asked to push out to you, please email the Clerk requesting that your email address be added to the Parish Email Distribution List (the PEDL). The PEDL system is more useful the more people subscribe to it, but you can request that your email address be removed at any time. The operation of the PEDL will soon be reviewed (September 2023).
How is the Parish Council funded?
Parish councils receive the majority of their funding by levying a precept on the council tax paid by the residents of the parish (or parishes) covered by the council to the district council. Other funding may be obtained by local fund-raising or grants for specific activities. Grants may for example be bid for from the budgets held by District and County Councillors.