Local councils associations are frequently asked to give support to communities interested in setting up a local council and ERNLLCA is no exception. It has therefore compiled a guidance manual, in association with its regional partner the Yorkshire Association, to assist community groups through the complexities of parishing an area and setting up a new local council.
It may help to explain the term ‘local council’. We often refer to ‘local authorities’ or ‘our local council’ when we mean the council which provides services such as emptying our bins, providing schools, social services or libraries.
The council in a parished area has traditionally been known as the ‘parish’ council but increasingly the term ‘local council’ is being used. This is because the word ‘parish’’ has a distinctively rural feel to it and other styles such as ‘community council’ or ‘neighbourhood council’ are far more appropriate in an urban setting.
The term ‘local’ council is therefore the generic word used for the first tier of local government in England and includes parish, village, town, community and neighbourhood councils.
As local councils are statutory bodies there is inevitable reference to the legislative framework within which councils have to operate and which guide the setting up of new councils. The manual helps navigate through the legislative process following a structured approach from concept through to the first meeting of a new council. It covers issues such as:
- The background to local councils, including powers and responsibilities and how local councils are funded
- The process for creating local councils
- Practical advice on how to manage consultation and getting your message across
- What happens once the decision is made
- The first meeting
- Managing the council day to day
Support does not end with this manual – ERNLLCA is able to offer practical advice and support throughout the process of parishing an area and establishing a new council…you only need to ask!