What a Parish Council Does
Your Council is a corporate body, a legal entity separate from that of its members. Its decisions are the responsibility of the whole body. The Council has been granted powers by Parliament including the important authority to raise money through taxation (the precept) and a range of powers to spend public money.
Your Council is an elected body in the first tier of local government. Other tiers, known as principal councils or authorities, have many legal duties to deliver services such as education, housing, town and country planning, transport, environmental health and social services. Local councils have the legal power to take action, but they have very few duties and greater freedom to choose what action to take. They can play a vital part in representing the interests of the communities they serve and improving the quality of life and the local environment.
How is Morton-on-Swale Parish Council constituted?
Morton-on-Swale Parish Council is made up of 5 volunteer Councillors, who receive no monies whatsoever in return for their services, and they are supported by a paid, part-time Clerk and a paid, part-time Financial Officer (RFO). To see who the current Councillors are, please select the The Council main menu option above, then from the drop-down menu select The Councillors and then Parish Councillors. These Councillors represent all of the electors of Morton-on-Swale and have to stand for election every four years. The Parish Council is not a political body and Councillors do not represent any political party when working for the Parish Council.
At the first (Annual) meeting of the Council each year, which is routinely held in May, the Councillors elect one of their number to serve as Chairman for the coming year.in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. Although some larger Parish Councils optionally also elect a Vice-Chairman, Morton-on-Swale has chosen not to do so at this time.
NB Although it may not seem very "PC" to use the title "Chairman" in this day and age, this is nevertheless the correct term to be used in Law in any official correspondence and other such documents, irrespective of the sex of the incumbent, and is as used in various legislation such as the Local Government Act 1972 mentioned above. However it is now generally considered acceptable these days to use the term "Chair" in more general communications.
What is Morton-on-Swale Parish Council responsible for?
- Play parks
- Grass Cutting
- Village Maintenance
- Reviewing Planning Applications
- Feeding into District and Country Council consultations
- Liaising with the Police
- Liaising with the District and County Council
- Representing the Parish on associated committees
- Alerting other Authorities regarding problems with drainage, footpaths, bus shelters etc
Other Issues Parish Councils take on
Along with these main points of responsibility, Parish Councils are sometimes involved in planning, highways, transport and traffic, community safety, housing, street lighting, playing fields, litter, seats and shelters, rights of way. Central Government is encouraging local councils to deliver more services and play a greater part in their communities.
Why your local Parish Council is important
There are around 9,000 local councils in England and they are growing in number, especially as councils in urban areas are established. Most local councils were set up in 1894 by an Act of Parliament. This created the civil parish, separating it from the church after its long history of delivering local services such as care for the poor, maintenance of roads and collecting taxes. A typical local council represents around 2,700 people but some have much larger populations.
It is estimated that Morton-on-Swale Parish Council currently represents more than 600 residents - probably somewhat closer to 700 (the 2011 Census, the last for which details are presently available, revealed that the Parish had 536 residents, but that was of course before the development of the Meadowfields and Dales View estates).
Who does what on the Parish Council?
The local council needs a range of skills to work as a team. Your Chairman has the role of team leader for Council meetings while your Clerk is also a vital team member. The Clerk provides advice and administrative support, and takes action to implement council decisions. The Clerk may have to act as a project manager, personnel director, public relations officer or finance administrator. The Clerk is not a secretary and is not at the beck and call of the Chairman or other Councillors; the Clerk is answerable only to the Council as a whole. The Clerk is the 'Proper Officer' of the Council in law. Legally Councils can delegate decisions to Clerks because they are trusted professional officers whose objectivity allows them to act for the Council. The Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) is an officer appointed under section 151 of the Local Government Act 1972, and who is responsible for administering the Council's finances. The RFO is often the Clerk but in our case this is currently a separate post held by a second part-time officer of the Council.
The village lies within the Richmond UK Parliament constituency. It also lies within the Swale electoral division of North Yorkshire County Council and the Morton-on-Swale ward of Hambleton District Council. An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward stretches north to Danby Wiske with a total population taken at the 2011 Census of 1,761. In March 2022, there were 560 residents on the electoral roll.
How Much Does It Cost You?
For the year ending March 31st 2023, the Annual Council Tax charge for a Band C property in Morton-on-Swale is £1,761. Of this, the Parish Council accounts for £33.58, or less than 0.02% of the total bill, and which was an increase £2.93 compared with the previous year. The cost of running the Parish Council therefore works out at less than 50p per week for the average household.