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Resources for Town and Parish Councils

Register of Interests

Link to online registration page.

Declaration of Acceptance of Office

All members of town and parish councils are required to make a declaration of acceptance of office on the attached form (Declaration of Acceptance of Office form) before or at the first meeting of the parish, town or city council after their election or appointment, or before or at a later meeting fixed by the council.

The member’s signature should be witnessed by the clerk to the council, who will retain the completed form.

Parish Newsletter

Wiltshire Council publishes a monthly newsletter for town and parish councils called ‘Wiltshire News’ which provides information for parish and town councils about the work we do. It contains brief summaries of key reports, consultations and news with links to further information on our website.

This newsletter is produced by the corporate communications team. For more information, back copies or to provide feedback please email communications@wiltshire.gov.uk or telephone 01225 713115.

Governance Toolkit

A useful resource for town and parish clerks is the Governance Toolkit. This was produced as a partnership between the National Association of Local Councils, the Society of Local Council Clerks, the Standards Board for England and the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors.

The toolkit provides information on a range of issues including governance, roles and responsibilities, public engagement, managing information and elections.

Code of Conduct

All town and parish Councils are required to adopt a Code of Conduct which sets the standard of behaviour expected of councillors and aims to promote public confidence in local government.

It is each member’s responsibility to comply with the Code of Conduct. Upon election or co-option to office, members sign a declaration agreeing to abide by the rules of the Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct does not apply to authorities as a whole or to the conduct of its officers or employees.

Allegations of a potential breach of the Code of Conduct are dealt with by Wiltshire Council’s Standards Committee. Information about how to make a complaint and the procedure for dealing with complaints, including a link to additional information about Wiltshire Council’s Standards Committee, can be found at How to complain about a Council Member.

Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)

Town and parish councils are required to comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, relating to requests for copies of recorded information, and the Data Protection Act 1998.

See the Data Protection and Freedom of Information requirements pages for more information.

Charitable Trustees

Councillors who are trustees of charitable organisations may be required to register an interest under paragraph 8 of the Code of Conduct and may also have a personal interest to declare. It is important that councillors are aware of their role as a trustee in order to determine whether they have an interest to register or declare.

The Standards for England Guidance ‘Charitable Trustees and personal interests under the Code’ sets out the different types of trustees and offers some guidance on interests that need to be registered. Click here to download the guidance document.

Alternatively, councillors are advised to seek legal advice in order to clarify their own particular circumstances.

Parish Clerks - PAYE Implementation

All parish councils are required to register as an employer with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and operate PAYE on the income that the Clerk earns.

As an office holder a parish clerk must be taxed under PAYE, must never be paid ‘gross’, and can never be considered to be self employed.

Further information can be found on the H M Revenue and Customs website.

Training

Wiltshire Council’s Governance Team has developed a training package for town and parish councils with the aim of promoting the Code of Conduct and high standards of conduct. The training has been designed specifically with town and parish councils in mind and includes an interactive session on the Code of Conduct and the discussion of real case studies.

If you are interested in attending the training or would like some additional information please contact Anna Browne, Governance Support Officer, by telephone on 01225 718454 or by email at anna.browne@wiltshire.gov.uk.

The Wiltshire Association of Local Councils also offers training to both officers and members of town and parish councils, including the Certificate in Local Council Administration for parish clerks. Further information can be obtained directly from the Wiltshire Association of Local Councils website.

Area Boards

There are 18 Area Boards across Wiltshire considering local issues, working to support projects identified by communities and ensuring that services are tailored to meet local needs.

Town and parish councils play an active part in Area Boards and further information on the work of the Area Boards, can be accessed from the Area Board pages of Wiltshire Council’s website.

Where to go for advice

Wiltshire Council’s Governance Team provides support to town and parish councils in the application of the Code of Conduct and the principles that underpin it. The team is also keen to assist with the promotion of good governance generally.

You can contact the Governance Team by email at governance@wiltshire.gov.uk or by telephone on 01225 718454.

The Wiltshire Association of Local Councils provides support and advice to council clerks and chairmen in the day-to-day business of running a council, access to legal advice and guidance on the completion of annual accounts and the audit process.

For further information visit the Wiltshire Association of Local Councils website. Alternatively, telephone 01380 729549 or send an email to office@wiltshire-alc.org.uk.

 

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