ࡱ>  bjbj .     4= 1LtQggggB b nKKKKKKK$MGPKvBBvvKggKv ggKvK(GpKgPH,  IHKL01LJhPHPpKPpK,vvvvvvvKKvvv1LvvvvPvvvvvvvvv : SOCIETY OF LOCAL COUNCIL CLERKS BRIEFING NOTE FOR COUNCILLORS Section 1: The Council and Councillors Elections Legal Status The Clerk Conduct of Councillors Section 2: Council Procedures Council meetings Conduct of Meetings Standing Orders Agendas and Minutes Councillors Allowances Section 3: The Council as an employer. Role and Legal position of Clerk Standards Board, Code of Conduct and Employees Discipline and Grievance Council Proceedings and the Law in respect of Employees. Section 4: Finance Precept Power to Incur Expenditure Section 137 Expenditure Capital Finance Annual Accounts Internal Audit Approving Expenditure and Drawing Cheques Section 5: Planning The Principles of Planning The Planning Framework Planning Incentives Planning Applications The Parish Council as consultee Section 6: Who does what in local government APPENDIX A: The powers of a parish council APPENDIX B: Standing Orders APPENDIX C: Financial Regulations APPENDIX D: The Code of Conduct Guide for Members (Standards Board for England) APPENDIX E: Predisposition, Predetermination or Bias, and The Code (Standards Board for England) APPENDIX F: The Good Councillors Guide. September 2009. GREAT OUSEBURN PARISH COUNCIL The following notes are a brief introduction to the work of Parish and Town Councils and are designed to help you make the most of your appointment. Section 1: The Council and Councillors 1.1 The number of members serving on a Council is determined by the District Council. In England the minimum number of members is five. In Wales, although there is no statutory basis, the same number is deemed to apply. Elections 1.2 Elections are held every four years and normally take place on the first Thursday in May. If, following an election, there are insufficient members a Council may, if a quorum exists (see notes on procedures) fill the vacancies by co-opting people to serve as members of the Council. Legal status 1.3 It is important to emphasise that a Council has a separate identity from its members. It enjoys its own legal status. The fact that a Council derives its existence from statute means that it can only do those things that are expressly or impliedly authorised by statute. The Clerk 1.4 In order to deal with procedural requirements of meetings, financial affairs and such other matters as are deemed appropriate the Council may appoint such officers as it thinks necessary. Normally a Clerk will be appointed and this person will often assume the statutory responsibility for the Councils affairs as the Proper Officer. (Local Government Act 1972 s.112(1). The Clerk is normally the person who will be the point of contact in the Council. If appointed the Responsible Financial Officer the Clerk will also be responsible for the financial affairs of the Council. Appointments to a post which carry a salary must be made on merit. There is a discretion for a Council to appoint a member as an officer but any such appointment must be without remuneration although expenses can be reimbursed. 1.5 When making appointments a Council should ensure that contracts of employment are in place. A model contract of employment, agreed between the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) in 2004 and revised in 2007, is available. It is important that there is clarity regarding pay and payment of increments and again help is available via the Green Book which is supported by both NALC and SLCC. Councils should make adequate provision for training its staff and providing support as appropriate in other areas. 1.6 It is important that mutual respect and understanding exists in the relationship between officers and members. Standards of conduct have always been important and there is much guidance available on how officers and members should deal with various matters. (Model Code of Conduct 2001 Part 3.) Conduct of Councillors 1.7 A statutory Code of Conduct now exists in respect of members. This is linked to the operation of Standards Committees by District Councils and a national Standards Board which deals with complaints against members and offers guidance on matters of ethical standards. Members need to have regard to the requirement to register various items of information and also to ensure that where they have personal/prejudicial interest in a matter under consideration they declare such interest. Section 2: Council Procedures Council meetings 2.1 Every Council is under a requirement to hold an Annual Meeting during May but the frequency of meetings is a matter for each Council save that a Parish Council must hold at least three meetings, in addition to the Annual Meeting, in each year. Separate from the range of Council Meetings referred to above there is a requirement to have a Parish Meeting each year. This meeting must be held between 1 March and 1 June and consists of all registered local government electors for the area for which the meeting is held. 2.2 A Council can set up Committees to deal with its business and it has a wide discretion regarding what business can be allocated to Committees. However, it is important to note that a number of financial matters, including the setting of a precept, cannot be allocated to Committees. There is also provision for a Council to set up a Joint Committee with other Councils to deal with matters for which it is responsible. Conduct of meetings 2.3 The Chairman presides at a Council meeting. If he/she is absent then the Vice Chairman presides or, in his/her absence, a person appointed by the Council. Meetings of a Council are open to the press and public although specific matters can be dealt with in private provided that a resolution is passed by the Council giving the reason why the business needs to be transacted in a confidential manner. 2.4 A Council meeting cannot take place unless a quorum of members is present. A quorum consists of three, or a third of the Councils membership, whichever is the greater. If more than a third of the Council members are disqualified then the requirement in respect of a third of the Councils membership translates to only qualified members. 2.5 The rules of debate and the general conduct of business will normally be governed by Standing Orders (see below). Voting is usually by show of hands but, in certain circumstances, alternative means of voting can be required. The person chairing the meeting will have a casting vote if the votes are equal. 2.6 If any members have difficulty in attending meetings they should advise the Clerk. If absence is likely to be prolonged it is important to be aware of the consequences of failing to attend any meeting of the Council, or its Committees, for six consecutive months. Unless the Council approves such an absence, or there is statutory justification, then the member will automatically be disqualified. Standing Orders 2.7 Every Council is encouraged to have Standing Orders to provide a framework for the conduct of business. Many Councils will adopt their own Standing Orders but some small Councils may rely on model standing orders such as the NALC publication: Chairmanship and Standing Orders April 2002. [A copy of the Parish Councils standing orders is attached]. Agendas and Minutes 2.8 The agenda for a Council meeting, notice of which must be given at least three clear days before the meeting, will set out the business to be conducted. Any Other Business may be used to make announcements or convey information but it should not be used to avoid including specific items of business on the agenda. Other meetings of Committees or Extra-Ordinary Meetings may be called at shorter notice. The non-receipt of a Notice of a Meeting and Agenda by a Councillor(s) does not invalidate the Meeting. 2.9 The minutes of Council meetings will provide a record of the business transacted and the details of the decisions reached by the Council. The Ratified and Approved Minutes are the only record recognised in a Court of Law. Long after the meeting is held the minutes may be used as a reference point and, in this context, while being kept as short as possible they should set out clearly the decisions reached by the Council and the reasons prompting such decisions. Minutes must be kept in an appropriate book and signed by the person presiding at the meeting. Members Allowances 2.10 The Local Authorities (Members Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 (SI no 1021-2003) came into force on 1 May 2003. Parish Basic Allowance (Regulation 25) can be paid to a Mayor only or to each member. The allowance can be set at a higher rate for the Mayor otherwise the payment must be the same for all members. In setting the amount of the allowance the Council must have regard to the recommendations of the "Parish" Remuneration Panel (see below). The entitlement to payment must be calculated on a daily basis over a given year. If a Member is suspended for a breach of the Code of Conduct part of the entitlement to the allowance can be withheld for the period of that suspension. If a Member ceases to be a Member of the Council, payments may be repaid. 2.11 Parish Travelling and Subsistence Allowance (Regulation 26) is an allowance, payable to Members of the Council and includes travel by private car, bicycle or other form of "non motorised transport" subject to performance of a duty (ie for attending a meeting of the Council or any of its Sub/Committees; for attending meetings of any association of authorities of which the Council is a member; for performing any duty under the Councils Standing Orders; or for carrying out any other approved duty by the Council. The provision relating to withholding payment during suspension and the repayment of allowances also applies to the Parish travelling and subsistence allowance. 2.12 A Parish Remuneration Panel (PRP) must be established to make recommendations on parish allowances schemes. In practice, the PRP will be the Independent Remuneration Panel which undertakes a similar role for the District Council. The expenses incurred, by the PRP, in carrying out its work can be met equally by all those parishes who wish to pay allowances and for which a report has been prepared (Regulation 27); The report referred to above must set out the recommended amount of the parish basic allowance payable; the recommended amount of the travelling and subsistence allowance payable; whether the parish basic allowance is to be payable to the Mayor only or to all elected Members of the Parish and whether the payment to the Mayor is set higher than for Members. 2.13 Note that Parish Councils can continue to pay an allowance to the Chairman/Mayor under S15 (5) of the Local Government Act 1972 as this has not been repealed. Section 3: The Council as an employer 3.1 In law a Council is a corporation and is treated as any other corporation, subject to all the laws and regulations of the land. Each Councillor is treated as a director of that corporation. Unless a matter dealt with by the Council in relation to any actions is resolved by the Council as a decision, individual Councillors are jointly and severally liable for actions taken. 3.2 In employment law each Councillor is treated as an individual director and has all the duties and responsibilities of a director to act properly within the law and regulations. No individual Councillor, or group of Councillors may take action against any employee. All actions must be dealt with by the Council corporate. The Approved Minutes of the Council are the only legal record recognised in a Court of Law. No Councillor has any immunity from the law of the land for their actions as an individual. Especial attention is drawn to the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996, The Employment Relations Act 1999, The Employment Act 2000, The Part Time Working (Prevention Of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000,The Employment Act 2002 and the Statutory Disputes Resolution Regulations 2004. Role and Legal position of Clerk 3.3 There is an absolute requirement for a Council & individual Councillors to act as responsible employers. That is to say to conform to both the employment law and the spirit of that law. It should be borne in mind that the Clerk to the Council is required to be appointed under the Local Government Act 1972 s.112. The Clerk is therefore placed in his or her position as the Officer of the Council by Act of Parliament and should be able to enjoy the respect of their employers in fulfilling this role. They are, in law, the Office Holder. 3.4 The Clerk has to have a Written Statement of Terms and Particulars which is commonly encapsulated in a written contract of employment. It is a requirement in law and not an option. (Employment Rights Act 1996). This applies to both full and part-time Clerks. This document is required to identify the main duties required of the Clerk as well as itemise the conditions under which the Clerk is employed. These must include the starting salary and scale. Incremental points and additions ie. for success in examinations. Pensions or Gratuity. Sick Pay provisions. Annual leave. Time-in-lieu or overtime payment arrangements. Discipline and Grievance procedures and courses of appeal against decisions. Training requirements and support. Appraisal. 3.5 Part-time Clerk posts are covered by the Part Time Working (Prevention Of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000. In these it is stated that the part-time worker is entitled to be treated the same as a full time worker doing the same job. This applies even if there is no other worker in the organisation (The Council). Therefore a part-time Clerk conditions will be determined against a full time Clerks conditions of employment. Clearly the matter is decided on a pro-rata basis, but the baseline for any calculations is the full time post holder in an analogous position as Clerk to the Council. 3.6 It is essential for good relationships that the Clerk on taking post is fully informed on the standards expected by the Council in respect of the work and roles that the Clerk has to fulfil. The Clerks role is crucial to the operation of the Council. All appropriate training and support is an absolute requirement for a competent Clerk in post. Budgets should reflect this. The Clerk is the source of legal advice for the Council. Many disagreements, which are the beginning of complaints by some councillors of the Clerk, stem from annoyance of being informed that their actions would be Ultra Vires. It is the Clerks absolute duty to inform councillors if this is likely to be the case. In the words of a senior Auditor to a Council (Councillor) on a matter of complaint of a Clerk brought to them. Just because you do not agree with it (Councillor) does not make it wrong. However, Councillors are naturally free to ignore advice if they so choose. The Clerk is bound to record these occasions as a duty of the Proper Officer in the relevant Minutes. 3.8 The employer has a legal duty to treat his employees with due respect and consideration, mindful of their needs and problems, sympathetic to their difficulties. 3.9 The role of the Clerk has become increasingly complex during the past few years due, in the main, to the plethora of legislative changes brought about by government. It should be borne in mind that these are not optional extras for a Council and it is the Clerks duty to deal with the matters that arise form them and to inform and advise the Council on actions that must be taken. Depending on the nature of the Council the Clerk will be called upon to play many or few roles, but some are common to all Clerks whether they have a parish of two hundred people or twenty-five thousand. A selection is offered below. It is not intended to be complete, merely to give an idea of the scope required of a Clerk to the Council and the concomitant level of knowledge and expertise required. In most commercial organisations several members of staff would be employed to fill these roles. Standards Board, Code of Conduct and Employees 3.10 The Model Code that Councillors were required to sign in 2002 came into being to ensure that councillors observed the proprieties in public life. However, in Part III of the Model Code 2001 there was a particular clause that related to conduct towards others. This has a particular application in the case of the employees (The Officers) of a Council. In the case of a majority of Local Councils the Clerk to the Council is the sole employee. For obvious reasons this is a position that may expose the Clerk to unfair treatment by individual councillors, (possibly the whole Council). The Clerk to the Council has in theory no voice in Committee or Council if she or he is attacked, slighted, or has their veracity impugned by a councillor(s). Of course it should never come to that and there is a proper procedure to be followed where there is any complaint of the Clerk. (See Discipline and Grievance Employment Act 2002). 3. 11 The Model Code therefore has provision for a complaint to be made to the Standards Board For England of the Conduct of a Councillor towards the Clerk (Or Ombudsman in Wales), or other employees. Some Councils in adopting the Model Code reinforced this particular situation with an additional clause to identify the importance of the Clerk being treated fairly and properly with the clear right not to be defamed or vilified in public meetings of the Council. The Code after all is largely about what the man in the street would consider to be fair and decent conduct. The maximum penalty under the Code where a case is proven is to be banned from holding office as a councillor for five years. 3.12 It is also necessary to draw attention to The Prevention From Harassment Act 1997. Designed originally to be used in matters of sexual harassment it was drawn widely enough to include any form of harassment and bullying by one individual of another. A case may be brought by an individual against another in the Civil Courts. Uniquely this Act contains provision for a case once proven and a restraining order issued and broken to immediately become a criminal matter with a maximum penalty of five years in gaol. The heart of the Act is that a person must not pursue a course of conduct: - which amounts to harassment of another, and which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other Discipline and Grievance 3.13 The rules and procedures must be stated in the Terms and Conditions in the Clerks and any other employees contract. (Employment Rights Act 1996 s.1to7). There must also be a note specifying the person to whom the employee may apply if dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision relating to him or her. The employee must be given clear and unambiguous reasons in writing of any complaint against them. They must be also given the right to present their own case (or have it presented for them) in rebuttal. The Employment Act 2002 as amended by the Statutory Dispute Resolution Regulations 2004 asserts the right to a Three Step process in the handling of Disciplinary and Grievance situations. The three steps are: i. A written statement of the allegations against the employee or complaint against the employer ii. A meeting to discuss the matter iii. the right to appeal Failure to adhere to this Three Step principle can lead to a complaint of denial of statutory rights to an Employment Tribunal and compensation being paid to the complainant. Failure to follow this process may also lead to an automatic decision that a dismissal was unfair 3.14 The employee has an absolute right in law to be accompanied by a person of his or her own choice at a disciplinary hearing to act as observer or representative. (Employment Relations Act 1999 s.10). There is no absolute legal right at this stage to have a solicitor or barrister represent the employee where this is not written into the contract of employment and the accompanying person will normally be a colleague, a trade union or professional body representative or another person known to the employee e.g. a neighbouring clerk. The proceedings must be seen to be manifestly fair and just. The decision reached must be seen to be reasonable. If not there may well be a challenge in law or to an Employment Tribunal, possibly on the grounds of a case brought for unfair dismissal. Councils should note that the maximum award is now 58,400 but there is no upper limit for awards made for unlawful discrimination. 3.15 Should the Clerk to the Council, or another employee have cause for a grievance with the Council or any Councillor(s) they should bring it to the attention of the Chairman of Council in writing. The Chairman must call a meeting of the Council under Exempt Business to hear the matter within a reasonable time. Once again the person with the grievance is entitled to have a person with them and a right of appeal. Council Proceedings and the Law in respect of Employees. 3.16 All matters before the council concerning the employment of a member of staff are automatically a matter of Exempt Business and fall under Standing Orders 68 and 69 respectively (Chairmanship and Standing Orders April 2002, NALC publication). Any such matter must be placed on an Agenda with the fact that it is Exempt Business published. 3.17 Matters relating to terms and conditions of employment of a member of staff, salary, appraisal and sickness records are also exempt under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 and may not be divulged to other persons who do not have a specific need to know. Interviewing for Staff 3.18 Records of interview, including any notes made are required to be kept for six months after the date of interview and then destroyed. 3.19 The conditions applying to Local Councils and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 must be adhered to in advertising for a position. (See SLCC Advice Note on Interviewing). The requirements of other legislation relating to discrimination must also be observed Section 4: Finance Precept 4.1 A local council will obtain its required funds via a precept upon the billing authority (the Unitary or District Council within whose area the local council operates). The precept is an order on the billing authority to pay to the local council a certain sum which is required to carry out its functions and services for the year. 4.2 Before setting its precept, the local council is expected to consider its spending plans for the year and to take into account any income from other sources, so that only the net total of revenue expenditure is approved as its precept. This procedure will normally take place between November and January for the precept for the ensuing financial year. 4.3 It should be noted that only the full council at a properly convened meeting can approve a precept. A sub-committee can discuss and recommend a precept so long as its recommendation is approved at a later full council meeting. Power to Incur Expenditure 4.4 A local council is empowered to incur expenditure on anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the exercise of its statutory powers. This means that it cannot incur expenditure on anything that is not specifically included in statute (but see Section 137 expenditure below). Numerous Acts and Regulations detail the statutory powers conferred on a local council. Section 137 Expenditure 4.5 Although a local council may not incur expenditure on anything other than powers conferred by statute, the Local Government Act 1972, Section 137, allows expenditure, up to a certain annual limit, on anything which, in the opinion of the council, is in the interests of the parish, or part of it, or is in the interests of all or some of its inhabitants. (Good examples here are Armistice Day wreaths or donations to local clubs and organisations). 4.6 The 2009/10 annual limit on Section 137 expenditure is 6.15 per elector. This is increased annually in line with inflation. Capital Finance 4.7 If a local council wishes to incur expenditure on capital items (items not considered to be normal day to day revenues expenses), for example purchase of land or building or refurbishing a village hall, it will have to choose between several ways of financing the expenditure sale of an asset (e.g. land), payment by instalments, saving the funds in advance, borrowing, grant or a combination of these. 4.8 Saving in Advance the council should decide what the likely costs of the project are and how much it can realistically include in the precept for each year until the required sum is accumulated. It should set up a Specific Reserve in its accounts into which the annual sum is transferred from its General Reserve until the required total expenditure is accumulated. Depending on the amount required, this may take several years. 4.9 Borrowing a local council may not borrow money (except as an overdraft on its bank account to cover for the short-term problems encountered between paying for day-to-day expenditure and receipt of income or precept), unless permission is given by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This is termed as Loan Sanction. Loan sanction is not the granting of a loan it is merely permission to borrow. Loan Sanction will not be approved for any amount below the Councils Section 137 limit (see 4.6 above). Once loan sanction is given, the local council is free to negotiate a loan from whichever source can give the best terms. In reality, most local councils will apply to the Public Works Loan Board for the loan. Once granted, a loan will obviously have to be serviced i.e. arrangements will have to be made for the repayments, including interest, to be paid and these must be included in the budget process and precept setting for future years. Annual Accounts 4.10 A local council must prepare a set of Accounts to show its transactions for each year. This set of Accounts must be prepared in accordance with legislation at the time and is currently as follows: 4.11 For local councils with income or expenditure up to 200,000 - Receipts and Payments Account showing the actual total receipts and payments for the year. 4.12 For local councils with income or expenditure above 200,000 Income and Expenditure Account showing the actual total receipts and payments for the year which have been adjusted to include for amounts owing and owed at the end of the year (debtors and creditors), and Balance Sheet showing the state of the balances as at the year end. 4.13 These Statutory Accounts must be prepared and approved by the Full Council before 31 July 2007 (for the 2006/07 Accounts) and 30 June for each succeeding year thereafter. Internal Audit. 4.14 Regulation 5 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations 1996 requires that each local authority shall maintain an adequate and effective system of internal audit. This requirement is now being enforced more rigorously. 4.15 A local council must now appoint an internal auditor who is independent of the day-to-day transactions of the council. He/she may not be a Member of the Council. The auditor may be anyone who, in the opinion of the council, is competent to carry out the work and does not have to be a qualified person. He/she may be paid or not. 4.16 It is not necessary for the auditor to have professional indemnity insurance cover in place the Audit Commission has stated that the internal auditor will not be held responsible for not discovering any error, omission or fraud which may come to light at a later date. Approving Expenditure and Drawing Cheques 4.17 The Council must approve all items of expenditure for payment. It is usual practice for a list of payments to be presented to the Council Meeting for approval and the cheques signed at that meeting. If cheques are signed prior to the meeting, retrospective approval must be given. 4.18 All cheques or orders for payment against the councils bank account must be signed by at least two Members (Local Government Act 1972 Section 150 (5)). Clerks or other employees should not sign cheques or orders unless two Councillors also sign. Section 5: Planning The principles of planning 5.1 Following a series of consultations, the most significant overhaul of the English and Welsh planning system for a decade became law in May 2004. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act made several key changes to the previous planning process, the affects of which are intended to: Make the planning system faster by simplifying the way decisions are made Enable local communities to get more involved in decision-making and the planning process Prioritise sustainable development', which means maintaining economic growth, protecting the environment and using natural resources sensibly Make it easier for councils to free up land for regeneration through compulsory purchase orders' 5.2 There are three stages of the planning process in which a Parish Council can be involved: when the planning authority, usually the District Council, draws up their local plans for the area. when the Parish Council is invited to comment on specific planning proposals. when an application has been approved or rejected there may be a process of appeal against the planning authorities decisions on individual planning applications, though these tend to be more complicated or expensive. The planning framework 5.3 Part of the responsibility of planning authoritiesis to establish a long term planning framework' which sets the overall agenda for development in their area. This will cover important issues, including: The authority's policies and proposals for the development and use of land Giving developers and local people a clear idea of what is likely to be acceptable development and what is not The new planning act has changed how this works. The new system of drawing up a local development plan was introduced in 2004, with all councils expected to have implemented it by 2006. The new framework for planning strategy has two plans - one local and one regional: 5.4 The regional spatial strategy replaces the former regional plans system and looks at a range of regional issues and priorities such as healthcare, transport and housing and how these impact on the spaces in the region. 5.5 The Local Development Framework (LDF) is the most important aspect of the new system and replaces local, structure and unitary plans in England. The LDF is a series of documents which outlines the local planning strategy. It includes: Information on how the local authority will involve the community in setting the planning agenda Information on specific sites they have earmarked for development Information on whole areas earmarked for developmentor conservation Sustainable development and environmental assessments for the area A document that sets out the long-term vision for the area Taken as a whole, the Local Development Framework will represent the local authority's policy on how and when land will be developed and how the community can get involved in the planning process. Incentives for development 5.6 The government has a number of policies that help encourage development. Planning applications may refer to these policies in an attempt to smooth their path through the planning process. Two of the important current polices are: Business planning zones: These enable development to be fast tracked in areas with low employment Sustainable development: It is now compulsory for planning to promote sustainable development, which means maintaining economic growth, protecting the environment and using natural resources sensibly Local authorities must be seen to be encouraging business to develop in their area in accordance with these policies. Sometimes there are targets set for a policy so an application that meets the requirements is likely to be looked on sympathetically. Planning Applications 5.7 When a planning application is submitted to the planning authority, it is usually dealt with within eight weeks of submission. The application will then be sent to various consultees including Parish Councils who have 21 days to comment on the proposal. When considering a planning application, the planning authority has to take into account whether the design of the proposal is in line with the local plan or local development framework. They also have to consider: The size and type of development proposed Which site the development is proposed for - for example,whether it's a brownfield site or not What effect the development will have on the environment, such as traffic and pollution The Parish Council as consultee 5.8 The Parish Council is a statutory consultee on planning applications and is normally given 21 days to comment. Plans for consideration will be listed on the Council agenda and comments returned to the District within the deadline. 5.9 In commenting on Planning applications, it is important that the Council considers planning issues. These include: consistency with the development plan for the areas Traffic and highway safety issues overlooking, loss of privacy and loss of light scale of the development design, appearance, layout and material loss of important open space or physical features noise, disturbance or smells local knowledge of drainage or other possible problems with the surface impact on the surroundings 5.10 Issues that are not relevant include: Effect on the value of property Loss of view over other peoples land Possible future development not included in the application Private property rights such as boundary or access disputes Matters covered by other laws The morals or motives of the developer 5.11 Special rules apply for listed buildings conservation areas, trees (some are protected by Tree Preservation Orders). Planning permission is needed for advertisements above a special size. 5.12 If development appears to have taken place without permission or if the development is more extensive than given in the planning consent, the District Councils enforcement officer to visit the site and take any necessary follow up action. Section 6: Who does what in Local Government Local government provides a wide range of services to the public. Different tiers of government are responsible for different services. The following list gives an indication of where responsibilities lie although there may be variations. A full list of Parish Council powers is attached at Annex A. It is important to note that a local council is empowered only to exercise its statutory powers. Any body which acts beyond its legal powers is said to be ultra vires. Local councils can be restrained by the courts if they act ultra vires. The Clerk should therefore be asked to check the legal position before the Council enters into any new business. County Council (or unitary authority)District Council (or unitary authority)Parish CouncilEducation Fire Highways maintenance, traffic management and street lighting. Libraries Recreation, Arts and Museums Social Services Strategic Planning Trading Standards Transport Waste DisposalCollection of Council tax and rates Environmental Health Housing Local Plans Planning applications Public conveniences Recreation, Arts, Museums, Tourism Minor Roads, footpaths, car parks Waste Collection and recyclingAllotments Burial grounds Bus shelters Public benches Footpaths Markets Recreation Arts and Museums Village Halls and village greens War memorials APPENDIX A Parish Council Powers What Can Local Councils Do? The powers which have been vested in Parish, Town and Community Councils by Acts of Parliament are summarised here as a guide to Councillors and others. Each description is brief and is intended to be a general indication. Like all powers given to public bodies the powers of local councils are defined in detail in legislation and these details may include a requirement to obtain the consent of another body (for example the approval of the County Council to the provision of a car park). Local Councils must exercise their powers also subject to the provisions of the general law (for example planning permission is necessary for a sports pavilion). Information on all these details should be in the hands of the Clerks of the Councils. The powers are listed alphabetically. Where a power is marked with an asterisk the council may, in addition to exercising the power itself, help another body to act by giving financial assistance.AllotmentsProvision and maintenance of allotments for cultivation.Arts*Developing and improving knowledge of the arts and the crafts which serve the arts.BathsProvision of baths and wash-houses (which in modern terms may mean a launderette).BorrowingParish, Town and Community Councils can borrow money for up to a maximum of 25 years with loan sanction consent. The Council must have loan sanction consent before Borrowing. The Local Government Act 2003 removes the requirement for loan approval. Councils may now borrow money without prior approvalCemeteries*Provision and maintenance of burial grounds, cemeteries, crematoria, mortuaries and post-mortem rooms.Church yardsPower to contribute to the costs of a churchyard in use and a duty to maintain any closed churchyard where the duty has been transferred by the Church of England.Clocks*Provision and maintenance of public clocks, on churches or elsewhere.CommonsPower to protect any finally registered common which has no registered owner.Crime prevention*installation of equipment and establishment of schemes for the detection or prevention of crime; making grants to the police authority for these purposes.Entertainments*Provision of any form of public entertainment and any premises for giving entertainments. (This includes maintaining bands or orchestras and providing for dancing.)Halls*Provision of buildings for public meetings and functions, for indoor sports or physical recreation, or for the use of clubs or societies having recreational, social or athletic objects.Legal ProceedingsPower to prosecute and defend any legal proceedings in the interests of the inhabitants. Power to take part in any public local inquiry.LightingProvision and maintenance of any footway lighting which lights roads or pavements provided the columns are not above specified heights.Litter*Provision of litter-bins in streets and support for anti-litter campaigns.Open SpacesProvision and maintenance of public open spaces, pleasure grounds and public walks.Parking PlacesProvision and management of car and cycle parks.ParksProvision and maintenance of public parks and appropriate facilities.PlanningLocal councils have a right to be notified of any planning application affecting their area and to make comments which the planning authority must take into account.Playing Fields*Provision and maintenance of land for any kind of outdoor recreation, including boating pools.Ponds*Power to deal with ponds, pools, or other places containing filth or matter prejudicial to health.Public LavatoriesProvision and maintenance of public lavatories.Rights of WayMaintenance of public footpaths and bridleways.Roadside VergesPower to plant and maintain roadside verges.Seats*Provision and maintenance of public seats on the highway.Shelters*Provision and maintenance of shelters for general public use and also particularly for bus passengers.SignsPower to erect signs which warn of dangers or announce a place name, or indicate a bus stop.Swimming*Provision of indoor or outdoor swimming pools or bathing places.Tourism*Provision of facilities for conferences and encouragement of recreational and business tourism.Traffic calmingcontribution towards the cost of traffic calming works provided by highway authorities.Transport*establishment of car-sharing and taxi fare concession schemes; making grants for community bus services and bus services for the elderly or disabled; investigation of public transport, road and traffic provision and needs; provision of information about public transport services.Village Green*Powers to maintain the village or town green.General Expenditure Power In any situation not covered by one of the specific powers described above a council may spend money on any purpose which in its opinion is of direct benefit to its area or to the inhabitants. 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