There are some 8,350 Parish Councils in England, although London
and many other metropolitan areas do not have them. Most Parish
Councils were established in 1894 by an Act of Parliament. In Amber
Valley, there are 31 Parish Councils including seven created in
1984 (Aldercar & Langley Mill; Alfreton; Codnor; Heanor &
Loscoe; Ironville; Somercotes; Swanwick).
Parish Councils are the most local level of government in
England. They are independent of other levels of local government,
ie. Borough and County Council, however they maintain a close
working relationship with both. The powers and duties of parish
councils cover a wide range of functions but the level of activity
between parish councils can vary considerably. Some meet
infrequently (but at least four times a year, including one public
meeting) Other larger parishes meet on a much more regular cycle
and undertake many duties such as street lighting, managing
cemeteries, allotments, commons, village halls, war memorials and
Each Parish Council is a corporate body with a legal existence
of its own, quite separate from that of its members. Its decisions
are the responsibility of the whole body. They have 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. The accounts of Parish Councils are subject to
scrutiny by the District Auditor.
Parish Councils, unlike District/Borough Council and County
Councils, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. The
Council works in co-operation with parishes in the Borough but it
has no jurisdiction over the activities of the Parish Councils,
other than matters relating to the conduct of Parish Councillors.
The Borough Council's Standards Committee has a duty to promote and
maintain high standards of conduct among Parish Councillors. For
further details on the Standards Committee, click the link on this
Some Parishes are members of the National Association of Local
Councils which provides advice and assistance to Parish Councils.
See the link on this page. The contact details for the local branch
Derbyshire Association of Local Councils
Agricola House, Church Street, Wirksworth, Matlock, Derbyshire.
Tel: 01629 824827
In February 2006, the Institute of Council Secretaries and
Solicitors published a revised version of its Parish Council
Toolkit designed to support good governance at the parish level.
The document is available to download on this page.