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Community Councils - Role and Responsibilities

The general purpose of community councils is to act as a voice for their local area. This will involve them articulating the views and concerns of local people in their area on a wide range of issues of public concern and make representations to their local authority, other public sector bodies and private agencies on matters within their sphere of interest.  

 

It is essential that these views be demonstrated to be accurately representative of the community. Accordingly, the community council will have in place, in consultation with the local authority, recognised consultative mechanisms to validate their views and devise strategies to secure greater involvement by all sectors of the community. Community councils have a statutory right to be consulted on planning applications. Licensing matters and any other matters may also be jointly agreed between community councils, the local authority and other public sector and private agencies. 

 

Community councils may carry out other activities that are in the general interests of the communities they represent, provided these activities fall within the objects of their Constitution and the terms of the Council’s Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils. 

 

There should be mutual engagement in the establishment of working relationships with the local authority and other agencies. 

 

In carrying out their activities community councils must at all times adhere to the law, the terms of the Council’s Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils and the Community Councillors’ Code of Conduct. 

 

Each community council is required to adopt a Constitution, based upon the Model Constitution (Appendix I), which has been produced for national use, together with Model Standing Orders (Appendix II), to encourage and maintain consistency for all community councils and to facilitate their proceedings being properly structured and regulated, to ensure that items of business relevant to the community are properly debated and decisions reached in a democratic manner. The community council’s Constitution is required to be approved by the local authority.

 

Community councils have a duty under statute to represent the views of their local community. It is vital therefore, that they reflect the broad spectrum of opinion and interests of all sections of the community. In order to fullfil their responsibilities as effective and representative, community 

 

councils shall: - 

 

  • Inform the community of the work and decisions of the community council by posting agendas and minutes of meetings in public places, such as libraries and notice boards and, subject to the provisions contained within the Data Protection Act 1998, provide contact details of community council members.
  • Agendas and draft minutes of community councils’ meetings must be presented to the local authority within 14 days from the date of that meeting and be circulated to community council members, relevant elected members and other interested parties. 
  • Seek to broaden both representation and expertise by promoting the Associate Membership of the community council of persons for specific projects/issues. 
  • Make particular efforts to encourage young people and other under-represented groups to attend/participate in community council meetings and to ensure equality of opportunity in the way the community council carries out its functions.
  • Maintain proper financial records and present financial reports at community council meetings. An example of a standard format for community councils’ financial record-keeping is featured in the Guidance Notes accompanying the Model Scheme.
  • Inform the local authority of any change in membership (resignations, Associate Membership, etc.) and circumstances, as soon as is practicable.