The Role of the Town Council
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Tiverton Town Council is first tier local government (therefore the closest to the people), followed by the Mid Devon District Council and then Devon County Council. There is some confusion as to what the difference between a Parish and Town Council is. The answer is simple – nothing, they are exactly the same. However, a Town Council can elect a Mayor to be Head of Council instead of a Chairman.
Parish/Town Councils have many powers if they choose to use them, it is how and which of these powers that Councillors decide to use, that makes a vibrant forward thinking Council and can bring positive benefits to make the lives of their local communities more comfortable by representing the whole electorate within the parish, delivering and coordinating services to meet local needs and striving to improve the quality of life in the parish.
Parish/Town Councils were created in law, they can only act within the law by exercising their powers and functions which have been conferred on them by Statutes (i.e. Acts of Parliament). Anything a Parish/Town Council tries to do outside these powers is ultra vires, in other words, outside the law.
The range of powers available to Parish/Town Councils continues to change and proposals announced by the Coalition Government especially in relation to "Decentralisation and Localism" give a clear indication about the Government's plans to reinvigorate local politics by giving more power to Councils and communities. However, the message is clear – services are to be improved by bringing them closer and making them more responsive to local communities.
Tiverton Town Council is responsible for allotments, public conveniences, the New Hall, Christmas lights and civic occasions.
The Town Council also comment on planning applications within the parish too.
Tiverton Town Council employs a full-time Clerk/Responsible Finance Officer, a part-time Assitant to the Clerk and a part time clerical assisant.
Parish/Town Councils do not receive Council Tax directly from the public, but are primarily funded, at present, from a small percentage of the Council Tax charge made by the Mid Devon District Council to parishioners. This is known as the Precept and the Town Council apply for this by the end of February each year. Parish/Town Council budgets are a tiny part of the whole Council Tax and Parish/Town Councils do not receive any Government funding or income from business rates.