The Parish Council
East Garston Parish Council is one of more than 9,000 Town and Parish Councils in England that form the tier of local government closest to the people. By statute, Parish Councils have limited duties and a range of powers that enable them to fulfil those duties. In general terms the functions of the Council are:
• To exercise those statutory powers and those that may be delegated by West Berkshire Council.
• To protect, enhance and promote the environment of the Parish.
• To protect, enhance and promote the collective interests and well-being of the residents of the Parish.
• To make representations to West Berkshire Council and any other Statutory Body or Public Utility on matters affecting the residents of the Parish.
In real terms, this means that the Parish Council has direct responsibilities for local amenities including open spaces, recreational facilities and footpaths and has a consultative role on matters such as Planning and Highways.
The Parish Council comprises 6 elected Councillors who are elected every 4 years. At the May 2015 election only five nominations were received and thus these were elected unopposed. In accordance with regulations an additional member is being sought for co-option. Councillors receive no payment for serving on the Parish Council but may claim for expenses incurred in the course of their duties. None of the current Councillors claim such expenses. The Parish Council does not operate any sub-commitees other than for planning consultations, thus all Councillors are responsible for all matters.
The Parish Council has one paid employee, the Clerk. The Clerk is the formal “gateway” to the Council and has a key role in advising the Council and individual Councillors, on statute, governance and ethical matters and liaises with West Berkshire Council on these matters. He is also the “Proper Officer” of the Council responsible for statutory notices and maintaining financial processes and records.