Laura Sharman 12 November 2021

Calls for radical expansion of parish and town councils

Calls for radical expansion of parish and town councils image

Parish and town councils should be established in every neighbourhood to help places level up and revive local democracy, a think tank has said today.

In a new report, Onward warns that nearly two-thirds (63%) of England are not covered by a town or parish councils.

It shows that in areas with no town or parish councils, there are more than 12,500 residents for every councillor. However, in the village of Weeford in Staffordshire, which is one of the smallest parish councils in England, there are just 25 residents per councillor.

The report also reveals that people living in the Red Wall are less than half as likely to be covered by a local council as the rest of England.

Double Devo found fully parished local authorities have over five times as many community assets on average as fully unparished areas, with 38% higher rates of volunteering and group membership.

Will Tanner, director of Onward, said: 'The evidence is clear that town and parish councils have a demonstrable impact on the strength of local communities and the prosperity of local communities.

'But just two fifths of England benefits from this form of local governance, and many of the most deprived communities still rely on distant district councils or unitary government to fix their problems.

'A simple way for ministers to level up would be to extend town and parish councils throughout England, and deepen their powers to allow local people to take greater ownership of their destiny.'

The report calls for three reforms including holding an automatic ballot for setting up a town or parish council alongside council elections. It also wants town and parish councils to receive 25% of revenue from the planned Infrastructure Levy, and for them to have the authority to 'pull down' responsibility for neighbourhood functions from the local authority if they believe they could do a better job.

Jackie Weaver, chair of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, said: 'I welcome this report for its acknowledgement of the strengths (and sometimes weaknesses) of the first tier of local government.

'Those of us that know and understand our parish and town councils can see first hand the positive difference they can make in a community.'

Photo: Peter_Fleming / Shutterstock.com

Improving digital accessibility image

Improving digital accessibility

Mark McCallum warns hundreds of documents on council websites still do not meet the UK regulations and globally-recognised accessibility standards.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Property, Investment and Regeneration

Lancaster City Council
£53,633-£67,296
We are looking for a creative, inspirational and commercially minded leader who is able to translate vision and strategy into reality. Lancaster, Lancashire
Recuriter: Lancaster City Council

Accountant - Hybrid Working

North Yorkshire County Council
£36,370 to £40,578
Are you driven by more than just the bottom line? Want to be more than just an Accountant? Hybrid working with the expectation to visit County Hall, Northallerton and client premises, as required.
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Apprentice Social Worker

North Yorkshire County Council
£25,418 - £28,226 per annum pro rata.
A great opportunity to join our excellent organisation as an Apprentice Social Worker! Scarborough Area
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Building Control Surveyors

City of York Council
£45,207 per annum.
City of York Council are looking for two talented individuals to take the lead in moving the Building Control Team forward. Hybrid
Recuriter: City of York Council

Building Control & Property Information Manager

City of York Council
Grade 11, Level 1-4 (£43,910 - £50,504 per annum)
We have an opening for a Building Control and Property Information Manager within our Building Control team based in the city of York. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.