What is a Parish Council

What is a Parish Council?

A parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish.  It is the level of government closest to the community, with the district authority (Sefton MBC) above it in the hierarchy.

As it is the authority closest to the people, parish councils are invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas.  For this reason they are a vital part of any community.

What decisions do Parish Councils make?

Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community.  Probably the most common topics they get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities.

It’s true to say that on their own, parish councils have limited powers to make decisions.  But they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the borough council, health authorities, police etc).

In this respect, parish councils are extremely powerful.  The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.

Law determines the duties of a parish council and it underpins the work of the council. The duties of a parish council include the following:-


In addition to the above, a parish council has many responsibilities and these can be many, varied and wide ranging depending on the size and complexity of the parish, but all parishes have a responsibility in

Parish Councils raise money through a precept (the parish council’s proportion of the Council Tax); they do not get any general government grant. Each January the Council’s precept is agreed by Members through a process of setting committee budgets which forecast the expected expenditure and income for the following financial year. The precept is collected by the Borough Council on behalf of the parish council in the form of Council Tax, to which all of the Hightown electorate contribute.