The Parish Council exists to represent the interests of the whole Great Houghton Parish. The current Council is non-party political and is made up of Parish Councillors who are local residents.
Parish Councillors serve a four year term. People on the electoral role can be co-opted on to the Parish Council if there are insufficient candidates at an election for all the seats to be filled or if a vacancy occurs during a four-year term.
The Parish Council’s main roles are to ensure that the delivery of services to meet local needs is maintained (and ideally enhanced) and that the quality of life in the community and the environment of the Parish are improved. While the Council performs a limited range of tasks at its own hand, these two main roles are exercised principally through advocacy with a number of local and regional organisations. To operate effectively, the Parish Council requires a small annual income and this is obtainable through an annual levy on each household known as the ‘Precept’¹. Details of other Parish Council powers and duties can be found here.
Listening to everyone’s concerns, needs and aspirations and having effective communication, within and beyond the Parish, goes to the heart of the Parish Council’s work. If this is achieved then the Council will be well placed to represent Great Houghton effectively in discussions and negotiations with other organisations, for example our MP, other service providers and neighbouring Parish Councils. The Parish Council, therefore, very much welcomes questions, opinions or concerns from parishioners and values their presence at its monthly Parish Council meetings.
From time to time, other matters require the Parish Council’s attention, e.g. Health, Welfare, Education, Emergency Services, Emergency Planning, Environment, Countryside and Heritage Groups. In these matters, the Chairman of the Parish Council, in consultation with other members as appropriate, either deals with the matter or delegates responsibility.
The Parish Council employs a Parish Clerk. The Clerk provides professional advice and administrative support to ensure that the Council adheres to its legal requirements and implements decisions correctly. The Clerk is also the Council’s Responsible Financial Officer, administering its financial affairs in accordance with prescribed procedures.
¹ The annual precept is agreed each year by the Parish Council and is the amount which it considers is needed to serve the needs of the Parish, including meeting its budgeted expenditure. The precept is the Parish Council’s share of the Council Tax collected and is separately itemised on Council Tax bills.