Houghton Parish Council – Operating Framework

Hampshire ALC Advice: Council Operating Framework Template

HOUGHTON PARISH COUNCIL

OPERATING FRAMEWORK

This statement summarises how Houghton Parish Council operates.  It is designed as a quick reference point for members of the public, and an “aide memoire” for officers and Councillors.

It is a summary only.  Further information can be obtained from the Parish Clerk, and/or by consulting the Parish Council’s Standing Orders

The full Council

The Council is made up of 7 Councillors elected every 4 years (2007, 2011 etc).  If a vacancy occurs during the 4 years, an election will be held if 10 residents call for one, otherwise the remaining Councillors can co-opt someone on to the Council.

The full Council is ultimately responsible for all the functions and decisions of the Council. 

The Clerk will attend all meetings and will be able to advise Councillors generally.

Councillors

Councillors are democratically accountable to the residents of the Parish.  Their over-riding duty is to the whole community.

Councillors have to follow a Code of Conduct, setting out the behaviour expected of them while acting in their official capacity.

Councillors cannot make decisions individually.  They cannot undertake action on behalf of the Council unless authorised to do so by the Council.

When communicating with the public about a Council matter, Councillors should make it clear whether they are speaking or writing on behalf of the Council, or as an individual.

Meetings of Council

Council meetings are held approximately every two months.  They are open to the public, except when confidential items are discussed.  Minutes of meetings are published on the Council’s noticeboard or can be obtained from the Clerk.

Minutes are not a verbatim record of a meeting.   However, any decisions the meeting makes are recorded.

The Parish Clerk

The Parish Clerk is the Chief Officer of the Council.  His/her main role is to carry out the wishes of the Council, manage and oversee the delivery of its services, and advise on constitutional matters.  He/she is also responsible for the proper administration of the Council’s financial affairs.

Financial matters

The Council has a capital and revenue budget it can spend to carry out its duties. 

Relationship between Parish Clerk and Councillors

A close working relationship between Councillors and the Parish Clerk is important and they should treat each other with mutual respect (the Councillors’ Code of Conduct in any event requires Councillors to treat others with respect).  However, the relationships should not become so close, or appear to be so close, as to bring into question Councillors’ or the Clerk’s ability to deal impartially with others.

Houghton Parish Council is responsible for the following:

  • The Recreation Ground
  • The Parish Council uses a contractor to regularly mow and strim the Recreation Ground.
  • The Children’s Playground
  • The playground is inspected weekly and a record of these inspections is kept in the Village Hall.  Other inspections are carried out ad hoc. 
  • The playground equipment is cleaned weekly
  • An independent inspection and risk assessment is carried out annually
  • Trees in the Recreation Ground
  • The trees will be surveyed every five years
  • War Memorial, street furniture and bus shelters

These items are inspected for safety every six months