North Horsham Parish Council is one of over 9,000 Parish Councils in England that work towards improving community well-being and providing better services at a local level. Parish Councils are the tier of local government closest to the people and their focus is on a relatively small geographical area. The next level of government is the District Council followed by the County Council. Each layer of local government has different roles and responsibilities.
Core Roles and responsibilities of a Parish Council
The Council is a corporate body and decisions are the responsibility of the whole body. A council cannot do anything unless permitted by legislation. Parliament has granted Parish Councils a range of powers which enable them to spend public money and to raise money through taxation (the precept). Whilst Parish Councils have legal powers to take action if they are so minded, they have very few duties (legal obligations) therefore, greater freedom to respond to providing what is best for their community. In April 2012 the Government introduced the general power of competence for eligible local councils. By demonstrating that the Council has two thirds of its Councillors elected and a qualified Clerk (Proper Officer) the Council is eligible to adopt the general power of competence and once it has been adopted the Council can do anything that an individual might do, as long as other legislation does not forbid it. The general power of competence makes it easier for a Parish Council to respond effectively to their communities’ needs, encourages innovation and opens up opportunities for shared service delivery. North Horsham Parish Council adopted the general power of competence in 2016.
Councillors can be elected or co-opted. Councillors work together to serve the community, bring local issues to the attention of the council and help to make decisions on behalf of the local community.
The Clerk is the proper officer of the council in law and provides advice and administrative support to the Council as a corporate body. The proper officer takes action to implement council decisions. The Council must appoint a Responsible Financial Officer and in many cases the Clerk also takes on this role.
The Chairman presides over the meetings of the Council and must ensure that council meetings run smoothly, that all business is properly considered and that councillors can contribute to the debate. When a vote is tied the Chairman has a casting vote. The Chairman represents the Parish Council at public events.
History of North Horsham Parish Council
North Horsham Parish Council is a successor to Horsham Rural Parish Council, which had been in existence since 1894. Horsham Rural Parish Council had comprised of five Wards, Southwater; Broadbridge Heath; Holbrook; Roffey and Doomsday. In 1987, the Boundary Commission reduced the number of Wards and under Statutory Instrument 197/247 by the Horsham (Parishes) Order 1987 passed on 9th February 1987 split the Rural Parish into three, Southwater; Broadbridge Heath and North Horsham.
North Horsham Parish Council today
North Horsham Parish Council covers the largest area (over 1,095 hectares) in the Horsham District. A total of nineteen parish councillors represent the four wards of Holbrook East, Holbrook West, Roffey North and Roffey South that join together to make North Horsham Parish. From May 2019 there will be six wards, Holbrook, Esat, Holbrook West, Roffey North, Roffey South, Comptons and North Horsham Rural, but the same number of Councillors. Details of the Councillors and the wards that they represent can be found in the Councillors section of the website along with details of meetings, Council documents and policies and a list of the services that are provided.
If you would like to find out more about Parish Councils and you cannot find the information on our website, please contact the Clerk.