What is a Town Council?
Town and Community Councils are the first tier of local government and provide communities with a democratic voice and a structure for taking community action.
The Town Council is a legal, corporate body entirely separate from but comprising of its Members (Councillors). The Council has a duty to appoint a Chair, a Clerk, a Financial Officer (often the Clerk) and an Internal Auditor. It must convene an Annual Meeting and at least three other Meetings each year. The Council has a duty to consider all relevant matters brought before it, to make informed decisions, judgements and recommendations and to implement these by instruction to the Clerk.
Councils have various Duties and Powers that are legislated for – a Duty is a mandatory action that must be carried out, a Powers is also granted by legislation (through an Act of Parliament) but is discretionary, ie the Council will have the Power to do something but may choose not to do it. An example of this is the Power to provide allotments or maintain a memorial or monument.
How is Neyland Town Council constituted?
Neyland is divided into two Wards – East and West. There are a total of 12 Councillors, eight for Neyland East and four for Neyland West.
What does a Town Councillor do?
Town Councillors act as ambassadors for their community, keeping everyone aware of local needs or concerns and reporting back on local, regional and national matters. The everyday contact that Councillors have with local people is the most important part of being a local Councillor.
Councillors represent the voice of their community as a whole and exist to consider the information gathered and to make a group decision. No one Councillor is responsible for any single decision. As a Councillor you would:
Listen and be a voice for your community – by doing this Councillors get a feel for the aspirations and concerns of the people they represent. The Council can then respond to requests for information on services from the Local Authority, eg. planning and can draw attention to issues that concern the community.
Act as an Ambassador for your community – Councillors are often invited to sit on local bodies and organisations whose work affects the whole community.
Attend meetings – Councillors once elected or co-opted agree to attend all possible meetings.
Attend ceremonial functions – there will be times when Councillors are expected to attend civic functions on behalf of their community, eg. remembrance services.
When are the meetings?
Council meetings are usually held on the first Monday of every month (not including August) in Neyland Community Hub at 7.00pm. Anyone is welcome to attend.
The Community Hub is a fully accessible building and there is virtual online access to every meeting for those who cannot get to the venue. During the current Covid restrictions all Town Council meetings are being held virtually.
Where does the Town Council’s income come from?
The Town Council is able to raise a Precept each year which constitutes the main body of its income. As this is public money there is a stringent annual Audit process involving both Internal and External Auditors.