Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Parish Council?
- What does the Parish Council do for me?
- What is a Parish Councillor?
- How do I become a Councillor?
- What is your current budget?
- Where can I find a copy of your accounts?
What is a Parish Council?
A Parish Council is your local authority; a part of local government working within the many constraints of legislation passed down by government.
The role of the Parish Council is very different from district, county, metropolitan or unitary authorities. We are a lot smaller and locally accountable, representing a definable local community and with all our statutory powers being discretionary, it allows us to decide where best to act and use our resources. It is important for the Parish Council to have a mandate from its parishioners, to represent all sectors of the community we serve, and to carry out the wishes of local electors.
A Parish Council is the most democratic area of local government, if the majority of the constituents say that they would like the council to pursue something on their behalf and it is within our powers, then that is what we agree to do when we are sworn into office.
Quedgeley Parish Council was created in 1894, as a Civil Parish Council, distinct and completely separate from the Parochial Church Council (which is responsible for St James’ Church). Parish Councillors are local people who are interested in protecting and enhancing the area in which we live or carry out a trade, profession or business. Elections are held every four years, the next being in May 2015, with bi-elections as and when required should there be casual vacancies.
What does the Parish Council do for me?
Although not exhaustive, here are some of the things we do for you:
- Influence Planning Policies and development affecting Quedgeley.
- Consultation with the City Council on local planning applications and make plans available to local residents in respect of local planning applications.
- Provision, maintenance and cleaning of bus shelters.
- Award grants to assist the local community e.g. Active Pensioners, Hardwicke & Quedgeley Cricket Club, Flutterbugs etc.
- Provision and maintenance of play areas and play equipment.
- Provision and maintenance of a cemetery.
- The Parish Office acts as a one stop shop for your various complaints and staff monitor the resolution of these complaints (e.g. blocked ditches, defective street lights, obstructed footpaths and rights of way, rodent infestations, odour nuisance etc).
- Provision of the Community Centre allowing low cost use by local residents and organisations. (Why not book a room for your meeting or hall for that special occasion now)?
- Provision of the Kingsway Community Centre.
- Provision of the Kingsway Sports Pavilion.
- Enhanced litter picking (Quedgeley is one of the cleanest – if not the cleanest – area in the city).
- Pursuing the provision of sports and recreational facilities.
- The Parish Office is a source of information for local residents.
- Provision of public open spaces.
- Authentication of legal documents.
- Provision of dog waste bins and free poop scoops.
- Protection of rights of way.
- Provision of litter bins.
- Influencing decision-makers at regional and national level in matters affecting local residents (e.g. waste disposal, transport, road systems, the environment etc).
- Provision of a local burial ground.
- Assisting the local community in crime reduction.
- Enhancing the environment.
Local residents are always welcome at the Parish Office that is open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 2.00pm where we will be pleased to help.
What is a Parish Councillor?
Simply a Parish Councillor is someone living or running a business in the local community who sets time aside to help shape and protect the future of Quedgeley.
We are governed by a code of conduct, which requires councillors to act openly and honourably in the public interest, never to use their position to seek personal gain for themselves, family or friends and not to do anything to bring The Council into disrepute.
In addition we are required to register specific financial interests we may have, who we are employed by, any business interests or landholdings we may have in the parish and membership of other organisations and as such whether we are the Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary etc.
At any Council meetings we must declare an interest if we, or our family or our business could be perceived to gain unfair advantage or financial gain if we debate and vote on an issue. Under such circumstances the Councillor will leave the room whilst the debate and vote are taken.
There are other rules governing the way we hold meetings, inclusion of the press and public and when we can exclude the public and press which is usually for sensitive confidential matters and is only used when really necessary. At each full council meeting the public are given the opportunity to ask questions or give their views on matters relating to the Council.
How do I become a Councillor?
To be qualified to be elected a member of a Parish Council a person must be 21 years of age and a citizen of the Commonwealth, European Community or Republic of Ireland, and comply with one of the following:
- Be a Local Government elector of the Parish.
- Have – during the whole of the twelve months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate – occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish.
- Have his/her principle or only place of work – in the twelve months preceeding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate – in the area
- Have resided – either in the Parish or within 3 miles thereof – during the whole of the twelve months preceding the day on which he/she is nominated as a candidate.
There are certain disqualifying conditions, of which the main ones (see Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972) are:
- A person holding a paid office under the local authority.
- A person who has been adjudged bankrupt, or made a composition or arrangement with his/her creditors.
- A person who has – within 5 years before the day of election or since his/her election – been convicted in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man of any offence and has had passed on him/her a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than 3 months without the option of a fine. (The relevant documentation is available at the Parish Council Office).
The other way to become a Councillor is to be co-opted. This happens when a vacancy arises on the Council and 10 constituents have not written in demanding a by-election, the Council then requests people to put themselves forward and selects a new member to fill the vacancy.
The other way that this can happen is at an election, if there are not enough candidates nominated for office then the ones that are will be elected by default and the remainder may then be coopted. However it is the policy of this Council to elect all Councillors where possible.
Do you think that you would like to shape the future of Quedgeley?
For further information please contact us.