What is a Parish Council?
Parish Councils are involved in the delivery of services and facilities for the benefit of the community of the area in which it has been established and it has a range of Statutory Functions and Powers related to the provision of these services and facilities. Particular Statutory Functions imposed on Parish Councils relate to the holding of meetings, the management of its finances and the preparation of Annual Accounts.
A Parish Council can employ staff (in Higham Parish Council’s case a Parish Clerk), and it can own and manage premises and enter into contracts for the benefit of its community. The Councillors are not employed and are in fact volunteers, giving their time for free.
A Parish Council has obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Human Rights Act 1998 and The Equality Act 2010.
What does Higham Parish Council do?
All decisions about what Higham Parish Council does will be taken at Parish Council meetings held around every 6 weeks. Where appropriate, some of its work can be delegated to a small group of councillors which we call Working Groups. The public and press are welcome to attend full Parish Council meetings, and the Agenda is published in advance on the Parish Council notice boards \around the village and on our website
The councillors collectively make decisions about the Council’s business and what services are to be provided for the benefit of the local community. For example, Higham Parish Council are referring to the Higham Village Plan published in 2018.
Higham Parish Council are involved in a broad range of projects and activities with the aim of making Higham parish a better place to live. The Council has no statutory responsibilities regarding, for example, the provision of housing or social care, waste collection, highways maintenance etc, which are the responsibility of either the Borough Council (Gravesham) or the County Council (Kent). On the other hand, the Government is encouraging Parish Councils to deliver more services and play a greater part in supporting its own community and, with this in mind, Higham Parish Council are dedicated to delivering more value for parishioners. Parish Councillors are interested and committed people who must be prepared to get involved in the work they do.
What does a Parish Councillor do?
Councillors will collectively decide and prioritise the activities that the Council will undertake, in particular determining the annual precept (a small amount taken from householders yearly Council Tax) and how the activities will be provided and funded. They have collective responsibility for ensuring the Council is adequately resourced and its financial management is sound.
A Councillor is expected to attend and participate at Parish Council meetings and to raise matters to be duly considered and decided. This will necessitate the consideration of the Agenda and any related documents in advance of the meeting. During the meeting Councillors consider all relevant facts and issues on matters requiring a decision and will take part in the voting, respecting the decision made by the majority. It is important that a Councillor represents the interests of the whole community, understanding the needs of its different groups.
The task of a parish Councillor is to work with the rest of the council to serve the community. Their task is to bring local issues to the attention of the parish Council and help it make decisions on behalf of the local community.
Are you aware of the projects that Higham Parish Council are currently working on at the moment to improve life in Higham – new bus stops, new playgorund, road improvements and much more? Have you ever attended a Parish Council meeting? Why not come along and see what we do.
For a list of meetings in 2020, please visit our Meetings page here: