The Parish Council is a corporate body, a legal entity separate from that of its members. Its decisions are the responsibility of the whole body. The council has been granted powers by Parliament including the important authority to raise money through taxation (the precept) and a range of powers to spend public money. Other tiers, known as principal councils or authorities, have many legal duties to deliver services such as education, housing, town and country planning, transport, environmental health and social services.
The Parish Council is an elected body in the first tier of local government. Parish councils are funded by levying a "precept" collected with the council tax paid by the residents of the parish. Parish councils have unpaid councillors who are elected to serve for four years, unless a casual vacancy arises which may be filled by a by-election or by co-option.
Local councils have the legal power to take action, but they have very few duties and greater freedom to choose what action to take. They can play a vital part in representing the interests of the communities they serve and improving the quality of life and the local environment. Furthermore they influence other decision makers and can, in many cases, deliver services to meet local needs.
The Parish Council responsibilities and functions include:
• the right to be consulted on all planning applications for the parishes
• representing the views of the parish to Selby District Council and others
• provision of litter bins and public seats
• Acquisition and disposal of land
• Support schemes for the prevention and detection of crime
• Maintenance of roadside verges