Revised Publication of Information about the Council’s operation as adopted on 5th July 2012

Hackington Parish Council
                                                                                       
Publication of Information about the Council’s operation
 
Who we are and what we do
The Council is composed of five members who are elected every three years. The members are elected under regulations and procedures specified in election law. The election is administered by the Chief Officer of Canterbury City Council.
It has become the practice to invite the Chairman of the Blean Hackington & Tyler Hill Society to be co-opted onto the Council.
A Chairman and Vice Chairman are elected annually at the May meeting of the Council.
The Council meets in open session at the Tyler Hill Memorial Hall (usually) in the evening on the second Thursday of the months of January, March, May, July, September and November. The Council always works to a published agenda. The public are welcome to attend Parish Council meetings but do not have the right to speak at such meetings. At the Chairman’s discretion members of the public may be invited to address the Council on a specific topic.
A part-time professional Clerk, the Parish Clerk, serves the Council. All formal business is conducted through the Clerk who also keeps the minutes of meetings, maintains the records of the Parish’s financial affairs, publishes all formal letters and notices and maintains the Parish web-site.
 
The Council is responsible for raising appropriate funds and dispersing them so that various functions are competently and efficiently executed in a timely manner. These functions include oversight of the condition of roads, footways and footpaths; the upkeep of street lighting, the oversight of proposed developments within the parish and the maintenance of the characteristics of the buildings, open spaces, trees and hedgerows etc which gave rise to the designation of Conservation Area status for the village of Tyler Hill and for Alcroft Grange.
 
The Council also has a general responsibility to ensure, in so far is it is able within its powers, to promote an active, healthy and peaceful community.
 
The Council works with other Parish Councils in the District and across the county to further the interests of electors and to represent them on local, regional and national bodies concerned with Local Government.
 
 
What we spend and how we spend it.
In the autumn of each year the Council reviews its expenditure over the previous year and, based on the outcome of that review, submits to the City Council a bid for a budget and a precept to be raised on its behalf in the following year’s rates. It is the Council’s policy to seek to ensure that the amounts sought are kept to the minimum, take account of prevailing and projected financial conditions and are spent prudently and appropriately.
Expenditure on any matter has to be approved by resolution of the Council. All expenditure is recorded in the minutes of meetings and is provided for audit each year. The minutes and audited accounts are available for public inspection and are published on the two notice boards in the village, and on the Parish web-site.
 
 
 
What are priorities are and how we are doing
In 2007 the Council undertook an appraisal of the views of residents (all ages), of the Parish and in response published in November 2007 a Parish Plan that highlighted the Council’s priorities for the period to 2012 on:
            The built environment
            Highways, footways and attendant issues
            Public Rights of Way and attendant issues
            The natural environment
            Health, Safety and Security
            Recreation and Leisure
            Young people.
A copy of the Plan was delivered to each property in the Parish.
 
The Council immediately wrote to all those agencies and bodies that have responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the services concerned under the above headings. Some of the matters were speedily actioned or resolved but those concerning Highways, though agreed, are yet to be actioned.
The Council reviews the Plan every six months.
 
In addition to the Plan, the Council has prepared a Village Design Statement that it hopes will be incorporated into the Local Plan of the City Council as a general guideline for development within the parish. It is proposed that the Statement will contain a history of development on the several locales within the conservation area, describe each building and its environment, and set out clear recommendations on what would be acceptable in the form, size and materials to be used in any development within the conservation area.
 
 
How we make our decisions.
All meetings of the Parish Council are open to the public.
 
The Council discusses all matters on the agenda or raised at meetings and they are resolved by agreement. In some cases, usually involving contentious issues, the matter is debated and resolved by formal vote.
All financial matters are resolved by formal proposition and vote.
 
As a statutory authority the Council receives and is invited to comment upon all planning applications within the Parish. Each Councillor has the opportunity to comment on the application on a circulating document. The Clerk summarises the views of Councillors and sends the summary to the City Council’s Development Control Committee. The circulating document is confidential amongst Councillors but the summary sent to the Development Control Committee is a public document and available for scrutiny.
Where a planning application is thought by any member to be contentious or too complex for consideration using the circulating documents method, a meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee will be called by the Clerk. The planning application will then be determined at a public meeting of the Council.
 
The Terms of Reference for the Planning Committee are set out as an addendum to minute 7.2 of the meeting of the Parish Council held on 5th July 2012.
 
These arrangements are considered to be appropriate for the circumstances of our Council which meets every second month (i.e only six times a year) and the infrequency of contentious or complex planning applications.
 
 
The Parish Assembly always precedes the March meeting of the Council. At this meeting a report, prepared by the Chairman, is presented which summarises the activities of the Council over the previous year. Councillors also report on matters relating to Highways, Rights of Way, Street Lighting, Safety and Security, and the Conservation Area. A report is also made upon our relationship, our long and co-operative relationship, with the Tyler Hill Memorial Hall Committee. This meeting is open to the public and members of the public are invited to raise and discuss any relevant parish topics.
 
 
Our polices and procedures
The Council has adopted the guidelines of the Model Code of Conduct *, published by the Standards Board for England. All Councillors are bound by the Code.
On taking office each councillor agrees to work within the guidelines of ‘The good councillor’s guide’ *, published by the National Association of Local Councils.
Upon election, the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen agree in their signing of the Acceptance of Office to work to nationally agreed guidelines on ‘Standing Orders and Chairmanship’ *, published by the National Association of Local Councils.
 
The Parish Clerk is employed under the Conditions of Service for Clerks of Local Councils *, and is remunerated to the recommended salary scales that are negotiated with the Society of Local Council Clerks from time to time.
 
 
Lists and Registers.
All those documents mentioned above and marked with an asterisk, [*], are available for inspection. Anyone wishing to inspect any Parish held document should do so by contacting the Parish Clerk.
A copy of the Register of Electors is held by the Parish Clerk and is also available for inspection at the Canterbury City Council’s Offices.
 
 
The services we offer.
Each Councillor has agreed to make themselves available for consultation or conversation at reasonable hours during weekdays, (9.00 am to 8.00 pm) and their address, phone number and email address is published in the Community Magazine and is available from the Clerk.
 
The Council has its own web-site, [Kent Parish Councils – Hackington Parish Council.url ], which is updated regularly. The site contains information about the parish, Parish Council meetings and minutes arising therefrom, local news, forthcoming events, useful contacts and provides a message centre on which correspondents can have their say on local issues.
 
Under the patronage of the Parish Council a Community Magazine is published quarterly. The magazine contains much of the information presented on the web-site but in addition has lively articles on parish, local and topical matters.
 
 
 
 
 
Mrs Denise Horswell
Parish Clerk
 
13. November 2008