Frequently Asked Questions

How are councillors elected?

Eligibility
A councillor must be over 21, be either a British national or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union and within the parish or within three miles.

Political Parties
A councillor may represent a political party or be an independent.

Payment
It is illegal for a councillor to be a paid employee of the Council or gain any financial reward from being so.

Elections
Parish councillors hold office for four years with local elections also take place every four years with the next elections due in 2015.

When a casual vacancy arises, (e.g. because of a death or resignation), the Parish Council informs the parish by posting a Notice of Vacancy. If ten or more electors wish it, then a bye-election is held. If no notice is given or if there are not enough candidates for the available seats, the Parish Council fill the vacancy by co-option, whereby the Council chooses someone from a list of volunteers.

How does the Council communicate with parishioners?

The Parish Council endeavours to keep parishioners informed of all developments and projects in the parish through this website as well as the Shinfo e-bulletin and the Echo newsletter.

Notices and information are also posted on the three parish noticeboards: outside the Village Hall, by the Devil’s Backbone path and on Hinksey Hill.

In addition, the Model Publication Scheme sets out where and how we publish and give access to information about the Council.

What does a Parish Council Do?

The powers which have been vested in Parish, Town and Community Councils by Acts of Parliament are summarized here. Each description is brief and is intended to be general indication. Like all powers given to public bodies the powers of local councils are defined in detail in legislation and these details may include a requirement to obtain the consent of another body (for example the approval of the County Council to the provision of a car park). 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).

Function 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 maintainPower to providePower to agree to maintain monuments and memorialsPower 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 WashhousesOpen 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.223Open 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
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 wastesPower to provide traffic signs and other notices

Power to plant trees etc. and to maintain roadside verges

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

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.164
Open Spaces Act 1906, ss.9 and 10
Parish Property and documents Powers to direct as to their custody Local Government Act 1972, s.226
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.164
Local Government Act 1972, Sched.14 para.27
Public 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.26-29
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

What is a Parish Council?

There are over 9,000 parish and town councils in England and they form the tier of local government closest to the people.

Parish and town councils are self-governing local authorities composed of representatives elected by parishioners to make decisions and speak on their behalf.

A Parish Council represents and serves the whole community. It is responsible for the services it provides and for achieving the best value for the spending of public money.

The Council is a ‘corporate body’, which means it exists as a legal entity, and the decisions it takes are the responsibility of the Council as a whole. Individual members of the Parish Council, including the Chair, have no statutory authority on their own.

Any parish council can call itself a “town council” if it considers it appropriate to do so and is in an urban area, and the chairman of a town council may be called a “town mayor”. Town Councils however, have no greater powers than Parish Councils, although they may choose to use more of the powers open to them.

Parish Councils have a limited number of duties, but they do, however, have wide powers, should they decide to use them and they may, with agreement of the district or county council, exercise certain functions normally carried out by those councils.

By their very nature, parish councils aim to maintain a close relationship with the local community. South Hinksey Parish Council encourage the public to put forward issues for the agenda, and to attend council meetings as observers or to participate in the open forum at the start of meetings.