A little bit of history…
Newbrough Parish Council was first formed in 1894 by an Act of Parliament. Prior to that all local matters were dealt with by the Church; Ecclesiastical Parish of Warden and Newbrough. Initially there was a problem with the literacy of the local Parishes. The leaders in the Villages were typically the Squires (because of their wealth), and the Parson. Even though this act was passed it took 60 years for councils to emerge as an effective level of local Government.
Parish Council today…
Newbrough has seven Councillors of which the Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected annually. There has to be a quorum to pass resolutions, i.e. minimum of three or one third of the Council.
Councillors are elected for a 4 year term. If a vacancy occurs during this term, it can be filled by either an election or by co-option.
In Newbrough we hold Council Meetings on the first Wednesday of alternative months (January, March, May, July, September and November) The Annual Meeting of the Parish is held in May and follows the Annual meeting of the Parish.
What do we do as Councillors? What can we do? What must we not do?
A Council must do what Parliament requires it to do. A Council may do only what Parliament says it may do. A Council must not do anything unless it has a legal power to act, granted by Parliament. This is the most important as we always have to ask this question when making any decision, especially if it involves spending public money. We do, however, have a power (section 137 local government act 1972) to spend money where there is no other specific power governing the action. From 1 April 2015 we can spend up to £7.36 per elector (459 electors in Newbrough) but this money must be commensurate with the benefit to the community. We represent local views. It is, therefore, important to get feedback from Parishioners.
We can put pressure on other organisations (i.e. Members of the European Parliament, or local MPs). We are non political ALL Parish Councillors are volunteers. Probably one of the most important things we do is to set a local precept (tax) for the year which is spent on local organisations.
We give grants to local organisations who ask for help usually at the meeting held in November. This is not automatic and has to be approved by the Council.