Committees, Working Parties & Roles

Guide to Parish Council Committees

A Council does not have to appoint committees[1], but sometimes the delegation of work can make life easier and enable it to run more efficiently and be more focused.

Other committees & working parties

Please note, all members of West Bergholt Parish Council are automatically members of the five Charitable Trusts.

Committee graphic produced by AI in the style of British Artist Rachel Whiteread

Specific Delegations to Standing Committees

Planning Committee

The WBPC Planning Committee has delegated authority from West Bergholt Parish Council:

  • To make representations to CBC and ECC on applications for planning permission which have been notified to the Council.
  • To make representations to the LPA in respect of appeals against the refusal of planning permission.
  • To identify and make representations to the relevant authorities in respect of enforcement action or any matters considered to be breaches of planning regulations.
  • To monitor, review and where necessary make recommendations to the Council for amendments to the planning consultation procedure.
  • To consider and respond to planning consultations from Government, County, City or other statutory planning bodies.
  • To deal with any other planning-related matter that a meeting of the full Council considers appropriate to be referred to the Planning Committee.
  • To maintain Parish Council guidance documents such as adopted Parish and Neighbourhood Plans, Village Design Statements and similar items which from time to time may be produced by the Committee and endorsed by the Parish Council.

Environment Committee

The WBPC Environment Committee has responsible for the following:

  • Maintenance activities for Trust or Parish Council managed land – Lorkin Daniell Field, Poor’s Land, Village Green, Allotments and MUGA
  • Mowing and hedge-cutting of Parish & Trust managed land.
  • Maintenance of children’s play areas and equipment.
  • Litter-picking within village envelope.
  • Supervise village handyman work schedules.
  • Monitor highways and report problems and where appropriate draw in views from the parish to determine possible solutions.
  • Liaise with ECC and CCC with respect to their village responsibilities.
  • Maintain and keep bus shelters tidy.
  • Management of ponds at Queens Road, Lexden Road, and Hall Road.
  • Monitor dog bins and liaise with the dog warden.
  • Monitor the salt bins and manage salt supplies.
  • Maintain the friendly benches.
  • Maintain and keep clean village sign, village entry signs and Jubilee beacon.
  • Monitor village Footpaths (Public Rights of Way)
  • Tree preservation orders for trees on Parish land.
  • Environment financial expenditure, forecasting and budget.
  • Liaise with allotment Committee.
  • Environment related health and safety issues and informing Parish Clerk of concerns.
  • Produce an action plan of issues arising from any of the above items and monitor progress and completion.
  • The Environment Committee Chair is the environment H&S officer.

Finance Committee

The WBPC Finance Advisory Committee has only the authority to make recommendations to the full council.

Specific Delegations to the Proper Officer

The 1972 Act gives the parish council’s Proper Officer (the Clerk) certain statutory responsibilities, such as to sign & serve on Councillors a summons with an agenda to attend council meetings. However, responsibility for the following day-to-day routine tasks which involve decisions, for reasons of efficiency, are also delegated to the Clerk:

  • receiving and sending council correspondence.
  • handling face to face, telephone and email queries relating to the council’s powers and activities.
  • updating the webmaster on any changes to the council’s website.
  • taking minutes of meetings.
  • keeping the council ‘s minute book up to date and available for inspection.
  • production of the council’s newsletters.
  • the initial handling of requests for information under Freedom of Information Act 2000.
  • the initial handling of complaints (except when the complaint relates to the Clerk).
  • issuing public notices for meetings.
  • organising, updating, accessing, storing and destroying council records.
  • authority to purchase, for example, basic office equipment or supplies up to a specified value.
  • to arrange emergency repairs to the council office/premises and equipment up to a fixed sum (subject to the council’s Standing Orders and/or Financial Regulations).
  • actions arising from other emergencies.
  • follow-up work from committees or sub-committees of the council.
  • liaising with the bodies that the council works with, e.g. other local authorities, businesses and local interest groups and charities.
  • supervision or management of staff.

Working Party and Committee Makeup & Responsibilities

Working Parties, Committees & Sub-committees exist within the Parish Council (which meets on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm), under the following headings:

  • Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee with responsibility for financial advisory, grant applications, tender analysis, contracts & resource functions. See Terms of Reference.   Meets on the Tuesday week prior to the Council meeting (not a public meeting).
  • Environment & Highways Committee – with responsibility for footpaths, roadways, hedges, trees, bus shelters, public notice boards, public seating and handyman work scheduling.  See Terms of Reference.  Meets on 2nd Thursday of the month at 4:30 pm.
  • Planning & Development Committee – with responsibility for planning reviews, project outline specifications, Village Design Statement and Village Development Strategy.  See Terms of Reference.  Meets on 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:30 pm.
  • Staffing Sub-committee – with oversight of staff contracts, performance etc…  Meets as and when required.
  • Communications Working Party – to assess the Council’s interaction with residents & organisations and advise on any improvements. Meets as and when required in order to review the Community Engagement, Policy & Action Plan.
  • Playground Advisory Group – see Terms of Reference.
  • MUGA Working Party – see Terms of Reference.
  • Joint Steering Group – comprising three Trustees from Orpen Hall Management Trust and three representatives appointed by West Bergholt Social Club.
  • Climate Emergency Working Party – see Terms of Reference.
  • Orpen Hall Management Committee – see Terms of Reference.
  • Village Fete Sub-Committee – see Terms of Reference.
  • Allotments Association – see Terms of Reference.
  • Community Safety Plan Working Group – see Terms of Reference.
  • William Sims Sports Field Working Party – to develop proposals about the new Playing Field – see Terms of Reference.

Dates & timings of meetings may change from time-to-time, please check the calendar in advance of attendance.

The current membership of these groups is shown on the contacts page; where practical, each member will be on at least two groups.

Registered Charities

Chair’s Role.

The Parish Council has a unique role in the community. It may have limited statutory powers, but it is the only authority that can truly champion – at a very local level – a sense of place and community which upper tier authorities such as CBC and ECC cannot by virtue of their wider responsibilities. The Parish Council may be a third tier local authority, but aims to provide first class support for its community! My role as Chair to implant our unique sense of Place in the minds of everyone I meet and help achieve a better quality of life for all our residents.

Local Government, and indeed public services in Essex generally, are often complex and confusing to residents The Parish Council can and should help residents navigate this, often bewildering set of responsibilities. It can do this in a number of ways, it can be a first port of call for all manner of issues that the community wishes to raise, and it can champion these to the relevant authorities. Sometimes it can directly assist through the funding received through grants and the precept, but most frequently it can assist by talking to residents and engaging as individuals in community life and discussing matters at committee or full council meetings. You will find that all the Parish Councillors are also strong supporters of other community groups, clubs and societies that are a feature of our thriving village and parish life.

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