The Parish Council is the first tier of Local Government and was created by Statute in 1894.
Until 1894 the affairs of the parishes continued to be administered by the Vestry Meeting dominated as they were by the parish Overseers, the Parson and the Principal Landowners. Although theoretically open to all inhabitants these meetings were in effect open mainly to those deemed suitable to serve. In 1894 for a variety of reasons, including better education, a general movement towards greater ‘democracy’ and a desire to break the power of the Church of England over the lives of nonconformists and non-believers, a Bill was promoted to create Parish Councils.
The great Victorian Prime Minister, W. E. Gladstone, piloted the 1894 Local Government Act through the House of Commons. After a difficult passage through Parliament and many amendments, this Bill became law and Parish Councils were formed. The effect was to transfer all non-ecclesiastical functions from the church to elected Parish Councils. Some other functions were added, such as those relating to the burial of the dead, which had, many years before, been vested in Burial Boards.
The Local Government Act, 1972, is the Act most often referred to when describing the modern powers and responsibilities of Parish Councils, but it is augmented by many earlier and later Acts.
Parish Councils may ony spend public money on projects or actions for which they have a statutory power. Breaking this rule is likely to result in a PC’s accounts being refused by the auditor and, possibly, the individual Councilors being required to repay the money illegally expended.
Extract from Staverton Parish Meeting Minutes
The first Parish Meeting was held in Staverton at 7pm after notice duly given by the Overseers. About 54 Parochial Electors were present. Proposed by Mr. Newitt, seconded by Mr. Root “That Mr. W. Dickens take the Chair” Agreed.
On a show of hands votes were cast for each Candidate.
Thereupon the Chairman declared the first seven Candidates elected, subject to the demand of as Poll. A Poll was demanded by Mr. T Burnham and the demand was not withdrawn.
(Subsequent Meeting. perhaps 21. Dec)
The Poll was taken on Monday Dec. 17. from 12 noon to 8pm in the School room. Ballot papers, 71, of which two were rejected.
Deputy Retiring Officer;- Mr. J.H.Hancock.
Clerk Assistant;- Mr. Authur S. Burnham.
|Russell Arthur||42||Clarke Thomas||37||Bromwich William||41|
|Newitt David||28||Burnham Thomas J.||40||Green Walter||27|
The results of the Poll were declared as follows;-
A vote of thanks having been accorded to the Deputy Retiring Officer the proceedings terminated.