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How the Parish Council works

By Frederick Ford,2014-05-16 14:42
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How the Parish Council works

    How the Parish Council works

The Parish Council of South Marston has a total electorate of 677 living in 318

    households. 9 councillors serve on the Parish Council for a term of 4 years.

    Elections were held on 4th May 2006 but only 8 persons applied.. The

    Parish Council’s policy is to fill vacancies by co-option and for interested

    persons to submit a short biography of themselves, with a list of skills and

    outside interests, and explaining why they are interested in becoming a

    councillor.

All Parish Councillors are voluntary (see membership on Page 1

The full council meets monthly on the third Tuesday of the month in the

    Village Hall at 7.30p.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend any meeting, when the first 10 minutes is set aside for members of the public to

    raise any issue. In exceptional circumstances, the Chair may invite you to

    address members during the meeting. If you are unable to attend, councillors

    can raise your concerns at the meeting.

To work effectively, the Parish Council has set up 4 working parties who meet

    when required. The Working Party structure for 2005/06 is shown in

    Appendix 1.

Copies of agendas are published in advance of meetings and placed on the

    notice boards.

The Annual Parish Assembly takes place between 1 March and 1 June

    each year, although we generally hold it in May. The Chairman of the Council

    reports on the Council’s activities over the previous year. The unaudited

    accounts are presented at the meeting and the Council’s financial situation

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    is outlined by a member of the Strategic Planning, Property & Finance

    Working Party

The Parish is served by one Principal Council, Swindon Borough Council, who

    undertake the responsibility of providing statutory duties e.g. Education, Arts

    and Libraries, Social Services, Planning and Highway Maintenance etc.

The parish’s Ward Councillor on Swindon Borough Council is invited to attend

    to answer any resident’s questions appertaining to their responsibilities

The Parish Council employs a part-time clerk contracted to work 10 hours per

    week to implement its policies and who is also the Responsible Finance

    Officer.

Statement of Purpose

? We provide a democratic voice for all sectors within the community of

    South Marston. We conduct our business openly and democratically

    and will consult widely with the community.

? We aim to support and contribute towards the economic, social and

    environmental wellbeing of the community by initiating our own

    improvements and by liaising with and influencing other tiers of local,

    regional and national government and other bodies, to enhance the

    aspirations of our electorate.

? We will strive to deliver services to the community to the highest quality

    in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and value for money.

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     What we do:-

    1. Facilities

    ? Village Hall The Parish Council provides support for the running costs of the village

    hall which is owned and managed by South Marston Recreation

    Association (SMRA). This is currently ?1000 per annum. In addition,

    the council has supported the costs of improvements over and above

    normal expenditure

? Recreation Ground

    The Parish Council owns the Recreation Ground which is managed by

    the South Marston Recreation Association (SMRA), a registered charity

    and all villagers are automatically members. The council supplements

    the income of SMRA by providing financial support, currently ?1000 per

    annum, to ensure effective management of the sports, recreation and

    play area facilities. Additional support from the Parish Council towards

    capital projects is considered, such as the new changing rooms to be

    built in 2006

    Open Spaces We provide grasscutting and shrub bed maintenance on sites owned

    by the village and give financial support to grasscutting maintenance in

    the Churchyard. The cost of maintenance for the year 2005/06 was

    ?2332.

    ? Allotments We provide 17 allotments on one site, with a current annual rental of

    ?5.00 each for villagers and ?12 for non villagers..

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    ? Car Park and Bus Shelter

     The council undertakes the maintenance of the car park and bus

    shelter.

    ? Dog bins

    We provide 2 bins on the Recreation Field, 1 by the Post Office and

    recently, 3 in Nightingale Woods and I at Oxleaze Wood, costing

    approximately ?837 per annum to empty.

    General Services

    ? We provide comments on planning issues and consultations

    received from time to time from other bodies.

     Grant Aid

    ? Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables the Parish

    Council to spend up to the product of ?5.30 per head on the

    electoral roll in any one year for the benefit of people in its area on

    activities or projects not specifically authorised by other powers

     Under this section, the Parish Council gives

     …...financial support to parish groups or donations to local organisations that provide significant benefit for our parishioners. For

    parish groups, it is normal to ask that a copy of their financial

     accounts accompanies any request for funding.

    The total monies granted for the last financial year 2005/06 was ?2220.

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Support Services

    ? Provide administration/financial management and accountability

    ? General information/advice to the public

    ? Holding public monthly meetings to ensure council policies are

    carried out

    ? Representation of the Parish Council on outside bodies

The cost of Parish Council services

The Parish Council receives no government grant nor any share of the

    Business Rates. All expenditure not met from fees, charges etc. must be met

from the precept collected by Swindon Borough Council i.e. the parish

    element of the council tax as described in your council tax bill.

The Annual Budget requirement for 2005/06 was ?14,100

    This equates to ?41.93 for Band D properties.

A detailed breakdown for the financial year 2005/06 is attached see

    Appendix 2.

    6 Review of services

    The Parish Council regularly reviews its delivery of services and aims to

    undertake the following:-

1. Allotments

    ? User survey should be carried out annually

    ? Annual inspection should be carried out annually

2. Bus shelter

    ? A regular inspection must be carried out

3. Village garden

    ? A regular inspection must be carried out

4. Car park

    ? A regular inspection must be carried out

5. South Marston Recreation Association Responsibilities

     Village Hall

    ? Annual submission of financial accounts

    ? Annual report on structural condition to be submitted in October

    ? Annual report on usage

     Playing Field

    ? Annual submission of financial accounts and public liability and general

    insurance.

    ? Inspection report each year together with reports on structure and

    safety condition of the facilities, supplemented by independent expert

    reports as and when requested by the parish council

    ? Regular risk assessments carried out on all play equipment supported

    by an independent expert report

    7 Current key objectives

1. Community Participation

? To improve the participation of the public in community affairs

2. Road Safety/Management

    ? Provide a footpath from Church Ground to the School and a traffic

    management scheme at the centre of the village.

    ? Seek to provide a continuous safe footway access from the village to

    Sainsburys

    ? Improve road safety throughout the parish in negotiations with the

    Borough Council

    ? Minimise the visual impact of the traffic calming

3. Supporting Village Organisations

    ? Actively promote and support village organisations through the use of

    grants and the help of a part-time project co-ordinator.

    ? Support South Marston Recreation Association (SMRA) in the building

    of new changing rooms

    ? Work with SMRA in developing a strategy for the management and

    usage of the Recreation Ground

4. Planning and the Environment

    ? Encourage maximum local deliberation within the Borough’s Local Plan

    Review process

    ? Support Great Western Community Forest at Nightingale Wood and

    Oxleaze Wood

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