Home | All about HIOW | Members and Officers | Association meeting dates | Key documents | Links | Election Results | ResponsesOfficer Networks  | Other Useful Information |


Back to 2004 Meetings Index | Back to Agenda Page

Paper 9 - 16 July 2004 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

16 July 2004

THE QUALITY TOWN AND PARISH COUNCIL SCHEME AND REVISED PARISH/TOWN CHARTER

Report by the Director of the Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That the Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities endorses both the Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme and the revised Parish Charters for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight; and

(2) That the partnership between HIOW members be enhanced to include discussion on the delegation of appropriate services to parish level.
________________________________________________________________________

SUMMARY

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils and the Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils seek the support of HIOW involving an endorsement of the nationally accredited Quality Councils Scheme. To date Brading Town Council, Wootton Bridge Parish Council on the Isle of Wight and Headley, Hamble-le-Rice and Petersfield Councils in Hampshire have achieved accreditation. These five councils are to be congratulated as they are among the first fifty councils in England to have Quality Parish/Town Status. Other councils are working towards this national recognition.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Parish and Town Council Associations seek HIOW agreement on and promotion of a revised Parish Charter between principal authorities, parish and town councils and their county associations. HAPTC Executive Committee has endorsed a revised Parish Charter with Hampshire County Council, which will be taken formally to the Hampshire Cabinet. On the Isle of Wight a Parish Protocol (Charter) is being revised at present, and a new document will be signed quite soon.

CONTEXT

1. A sustained partnership exists between all three tiers of local government in Hampshire and the two tiers on the Isle of Wight. There is potential to extend this partnership to the mutual benefit of the electorate and community in parished areas. Parish and Town Councils are democratically elected and highly accountable bodies, committed to similar goals on service delivery and the representation of community views.

2. A Charter was signed in May 1996 between Hampshire County Council and HAPTC, to which parish and town councils could agree. At that time Charters were agreed between District/Borough Council and the Parish and Town Council sector. A Charter between the Isle of Wight Council and the Isle of Wight Association was signed in 1997.

THE REVISED PARISH CHARTER

3. When Government Guidance on the Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme was published in June 2003, this included a Model Charter, which could be adapted to reflect local circumstance.

4. In Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Revised Parish Charters have been prepared and the formal agreement process is underway.

THE QUALITY PARISH AND TOWN COUNCIL SCHEME

5. The proposal for a Quality Parish Scheme was one of the outputs of the Rural White Paper, "Our Countryside; The Future". A Fair Deal for Rural England" which was published in November 2000. The Government was actively encouraging Parish and Town Council engagement with principal authorities as part of the modernisation agenda and to enhance service delivery.

6. The intention of the scheme was to build capacity in the Parish and Town Council sector so that there might be greater responsiveness and proactivity among councils closest to the communities they serve. This recognition it is hoped will involve greater numbers of active citizens in the life of their communities. Improved communication between parish councils and their electorate are being developed. Many parish councils have developed their websites and regular newsletters, and consult the electorate to a greater extent than before.

7. The Quality Parish Scheme is optional, and there is evidence of a great interest in working towards enhanced status. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Parish and Town Council Associations are enabling their member councils to access training and support and in order to provide sound and successful bids to the County Accreditation Panels, set up by ODPM. The Hampshire Accreditation Panel members are: Diane Andrewes (Chair) Alan Lovell, Dr. Colin Mercer, Councillor Michael Woodhall, Robert Park.

8. The Accreditation Panels involve a peer review process, which is new to the parish and town council sector and a Secretariat provided by each County Association. The Panels evaluate bids, with tests on:

Electoral Mandate
Qualifications of the Clerk
Efficient and regular meetings
Output of communications with the community
Publication of an Annual Report and sound accounts
Code of Conduct for Councillors

SUZANNE HUDSON
Director, Association of Hampshire Parish and Town Councils

Date: 2 July 2004
Annex: 0
Contact: Suzanne Hudson (01962 841699) suzanne.hudson@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 07/07/2004
Author: Nick Goulder, Director

Web Space  provided by Hampshire County Council

TOP OF PAGE