Powers & Duties

Parish Council Powers & Duties

Parish Councils have a variety of responsibilities: ‘duties’ the things that it must do and ‘powers’ the things that it can do. All these are laid down in various Acts of Parliament. A list of Parish Council powers and duties are shown below, each description is brief and is intended as a general indication only. Parish Councils have few actual duties but they have a wide range of powers.

In addition, in any situation not covered by one of the specific powers described below Parish Councils may spend money on any purpose, which in its opinion is of direct benefit to all or part of its community. Like all powers given to public bodies the powers of local councils are defined in detailed legislation and these details may include a requirement to obtain the consent of another body before it can act.

Local Councils must exercise their powers also subject to the provisions of the general law (for example planning permission is necessary for a sports pavilion).

The specific powers and duties available to the Parish Council cover:

Item, Event or Area Powers & Duties Statutory Provisions
Allotments Powers to provide allotments; Duty to provide allotment gardens if demanded unsatisfied Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, & 42
Baths and Washhouses Power to provide public baths and washhouses Public Health At 1936, Ss 221, 222, 223 & 227
Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria Power to acquire and maintain, provide, to maintain monuments and memorials & to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries Open Spaces Act 1906, Ss 9 and 10; Local Government Act 1972, s. 214; Parish Councils and Burial Authorities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970, s.1 Local Government Act 1972, s. 215(6)
Bus Shelters Power to provide and maintain shelters Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953, s. 4
Bye Laws Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds,Cycle ParksBaths and Washhouses

Open spaces and burial grounds

Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1875, s. 164Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.57(7)Public Health Act 1936, s.223

Open Spaces Act 1906, s.15

Public Health Act 1936, s.198

Charities Duty to receive accounts of parochial charities Charities Act 1960, s.32
Clocks Power to provide public clocks Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2
Closed Churchyards Powers as to maintenance Local Government Act 1972, s.215
Commons and common pastures Powers in relation to enclosure, as to regulation and management, and as to providing common pasture Statutory Provisions: Enclosure Act 1845;Local Government Act 1894, s.8(4);Smallholdings and Allotments Act 1908, s.34
Conference facilities Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities Local Government Act 1972, s.144
Community centres Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or educational objectives Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19
Crime prevention Powers to spend money on various crime prevention measures Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31
Drainage Power to deal with ponds and ditches Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Education Right to appoint school governors Education (No.2) Act 1986, s.4
Entertainment and the arts Provision of entertainment and support of the arts Local Government Act 1972, s.145
Gifts Power to accept Local Government Act 1972, s.139
Highways Power to repair and maintain public footpaths and bridle-ways. Power to light roads and public placesProvision of litter binsPower to provide parking places for vehicles, bicycles and motor-cycles. Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening. Power to provide roadside seats and shelters, and omnibus shelters. Consent of parish council required for ending maintenance of highway at public expense, or for stopping up or diversion of highway. Power to complain to district council as to protection of rights of way and roadside wastes

Power to provide traffic signs and other notices

Power to plant trees etc. and to maintain roadside verges

Highways Act 1980, ss.43,50Parish Councils Act 1957, s.3;Highways Act 1980, s.301

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, ss.57,63

Highways Act 1980, ss.30,72

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.1

Highways Act 1980, ss.47,116

Highways Act 1980, s.130

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.72

Highways Act 1980, s.96

Investments Power to participate in schemes of collective investment Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11
Land Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose ofPower to accept gifts of land Local Government Act 1972, ss.124, 126, 127Local government Act 1972, s.139
Litter Provision of receptacles Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6
Lotteries Powers to promote Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, s.7
Mortuaries and post mortem rooms Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms Public Health Act 1936, s.198
Nuisances Power to deal with offensive ditches Public Health Act 1936, s.260
Open spaces Power to acquire land and maintain Public health Act 1875, s.164Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10
Parish Property and documents Powers to direct as to their custody Local Government Act 1972, s.226
Postal and telecommunications facilities Power to pay the Post Office, British Telecommunications or any other public telecommunications operator any loss sustained providing post or telegraph office or telecommunication facilities Post Office Act 1953, s.51;Telecommunications Act 1984, s.97
Public buildings and village hall Power to provide buildings for offices and for public meetings and assemblies Local Government Act 1972, s.133
Public Conveniences Power to provide Public Health Act 1936, s.87
Recreation Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds and open spaces and to manage and control themPower to provide gymnasiums, playing fields, holiday campsProvision of boating pools Public Health Act 1875, s.164Local Government Act 1972, Sched.14 para.27Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1890 s.44

Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, s.19

Public Health Act 1961, s.54

Town and Country Planning Right to be notified of planning applications Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para.8
Tourism Power to contribute to organisations encouraging Local Government Act 1972, s.144
Traffic Calming Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.30
Transport Powers to spend money on community transport schemes Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26-2
War memorials Power to maintain, repairs, protect and adapt war memorials War Memorials (Local Authorities’ Powers) Act 1923, s.1; as extended by Local Government Act 1948, s.133
Water Supply Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water therefrom Public Health Act 1936, s.125