The recent posts about the activities of our Parish Council may have obscured what I believe are the two fundamental issues:
- What is the Parish Council for, and
- How well does our Parish Council meet our expectations?
At this point, it seems reasonable to take stock of the situation.
An internet search of “What is a Parish Council” throws up, like most internet searches, a plethora of information. I have come across two ‘general’ guides at:
There are links to a shed load of others that have been produced by individual Parish Councils, for example
Our Way Forward
The first question must be “What is a Parish Council For?” To which there can only be one answer:
“To serve the needs of the people it represents”.
To do this a Parish Council needs to have procedures which allow it to determine the views and needs of the residents it purports to represent.
Once these views and needs have been determined it is then possible to draw up a costed plan for consideration of where the priorities should lie for the ensuing period.
This should then be presented to residents for their approval.
There are some pieces of information that a Parish Council is required to make available to residents, for example, Parish Council Minutes, Agendas and the Annual Report.
Other information, such as warnings of suspicious activity is less frequent but nonetheless important.
The existing methods of communication are clearly totally inadequate.
In May 2016 I did a presentation to the Parish Council on how electronic communication might work. I was disappointed at the lack of interest shown by the Parish Councillors and ultimately the Chairman vetoed the idea. Since then I have been surprised to see from the minutes that the concept has now been accepted but I am sadly disappointed, but not surprised, at the lack of progress.
There is a further complication in that the minutes of PC meetings approved by councillors are inadequate and in some instances far from clear.
Take as an example from the January meeting, admittedly these have not been approved and signed:
- Clerk’s report (matter’s arising) : Minutes sent to Lancaster City Council and available at
Verges at Docker no longer require attention by Lancashire County Council.
Response to parishioner’s comments
discussion took place regarding electronic communication, the village blog/website originally registered to Whittington Parish Council though current Cllrs, nor the Clerk, have any details of the registration and publicly disclaim any details that are published on the site, be it that it is not updated or added to, directly, by any current councillor or the clerk.
What comments did which parishioner make and can anyone explain the nature of the ensuing discussion?
“Where do we go from Here?”
I recognise that the above is one resident’s personal views but whether or not you agree with them it would be useful to have your thoughts posted on the blog, preferably not anonymously. I am sure that if you do not wish to be identified John Keegan could mark your post accordingly.
(PS. I have told Graham that personally, I have no problem with anonymous contributions, they are a fact of Blogging, as they are in Twitter. I will endeavour to apply the House Rules fairly whether the comment is anonymous or not. Original Posts are a different matter because you cannot generate a Post unless I provided you with a Username and Password, which I will only do to a verified email address, therefore the User is not anonymous.