Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Uttoxeter Town Council - doesn't provide any information online at all

There are 591 town Councils in England - the vast majority have a web page (you can find them here - Index of English Parish Council Pages. I can find out about Tockwith with Wilstrop, Uffculme in Devon and Uffington in Lincolnshire. But Uttoxeter remains without a web presence for its 14,000 citizens.

Some of these councillors (predominantly one) perform, preen and posture, bully and cajole usually in private, with few observers - and even then any information has to be wrung out of them by the likes of the Audit Commitee or the interested few.

It's quite shocking and shameful - there is nowhere in cyberspace where I can find out who my town councillor is, what my council are up to, who turns up to council meetings, the minutes of the full council or any sub commitees, the decisions taken by the council - which impact us all. Why is there no effort to do this? Why do they not consider it of vital importance in a democracy - why are they there at all?

After all its not expensive - in fact it's free. I can find out what dozens of parish councils are doing across the country and across the world but as for Uttoxeter nothing, zilch de nada.

Perhaps for our councillors and clerk that tribute to scrutiny, openess and the apex of the democratic voice which is the glass panel of the left hand side door to the town hall is enough - it is our guardian and watchdog - every citizen can sleep safely knowing that an A5 slip of paper once a month taped to that special place - 'the glass panel of the left hand side door to the town hall' is our window, our forum, our democracy in action.

Here is some information about the responsibilities of councils -

Parish Councils have a variety of responsibilities, powers and duties. All these are laid down in different Acts of Parliament. There are few things that a Parish Council must do, but there are many that a Parish Council may do. However Parish Councils do not have a power of general competence and can only do what they ave been given a specific power to do by statute.

A list of powers and duties is shown below. In addition, in certain situations not covered by one of the specific powers described a council may spend money on any purpose which in its opinion is of direct benefit to its area or to the inhabitants provided that the benefit derived is commensurate with the expenditure involved. The total expenditure by the council under this general power must not in any financial year exceed an amount set by the Local Government Act 2003. It was set to £5 per local government elector in the parish with effect from 1 April 2003, indexed annually inline with the RPI.

The following tables indicates the general powers and responsibilities of a Town or Parish Council in England. This is not an exhaustive list. If you wish to read the Act itself many of them are available to be read on the Internet from Her Majesty’s Stationery Office just perform a search using the name of the Act, e.g.. “Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908″. Acts of Parliament are being repealed and amended all the time so be aware that if you read something in one Act that it has not been added to or deleted since the date of publication.

Town and Parish Councils

Function Powers and Duties Statutory Provisions


Duty to provide allotments.

Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights

Small Holding & Allotments Act 1908, ss. 23, 26, and 42

Baths and washhouses

Power to provide public baths and washhouses

Public Health Act 1936, ss. 221, 222, 223 and 227

Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria

Power to acquire and maintain

Power to provide

Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials

Power 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. 214(6)

Bus shelters

Power to provide and maintain shelters

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision) Act 1953, s. 4


Power to make bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds

Cycle parks

Baths and washhouses

Open spaces and burial grounds

Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms

Public Health Act 1875, s. 164

Road 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


Power to provide public clocks

Parish Councils Act 1957, s.2

Closed churchyards

Powers as to maintenance

Local Government Act 1972, s.215

Common pastures

Powers in relation to providing common pasture

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 recreational objectives

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 s.19

Crime prevention

Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.31


Power to deal with ponds and ditches

Public Health Act 1936, s.260

Entertainment and the arts

Provision of entertainment and support of the arts

Local Government Act 1972, s.145


Power to accept

Local Government Act 1972, s.139


Power to maintain footpaths and bridle-ways

Power to light roads and public places

Provision of litter bins

Powers to provide parking places for bicycles and motor-cycles, and other vehicles

Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening

Power to provide roadside seats and 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 highway authority as to unlawful stopping up or obstruction of highway or unlawful encroachment on roadside wastes

Power to provide traffic signs and other objects or devices warning of danger

Power to plant trees and lay out grass verges etc. and to maintain them

Highways Act 1980, ss.43,50

Parish 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


Power to participate in schemes of collective investment

Trustee Investments Act 1961, s.11


Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose of

Power to accept gifts of land

Local Government Act 1972, ss.124, 126, 127

Local Government Act 1972, s.139


Provision of receptacles

Litter Act 1983, ss.5,6


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

Open spaces

Power to acquire land and maintain

Public Health Act 1875, s.164 Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10

Parish documents

Powers to direct as to their custody

Local Government Act 1972, s.226

Telecommunications facilities

Power to pay public telecommunications operators any loss sustained providing telecommunication facilities

Telecommunications Act 1984, s.97

Public buildings and village hall

Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies

Local Government Act 1972, s.133

Public conveniences

Power to provide

Public Health Act 1936, s.87

Town and country planning

Right to be notified of planning applications

Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Sched.1, para. 8


Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities

Local Government Act 1972, s.144

Traffic calming

Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes

Highways Act 1980, s.274A


Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport

Powers to make grants for bus services

Local Government and Rating Act 1997, s.26, 28 and 29

Transport Act 1985, s.106A

War memorials

Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter 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 from them

Public Health Act 1936, s.125

No comments: