8th August 2023
Towns and parish councils
Town and parish councils
Town and parish councils are the first tier of local government in the UK. They serve residents, are independently elected and raise their own precept (a form of Council Tax.)
There are 17 town and parish councils across our borough. All are responsible for critical activity that helps enable our communities to thrive.
The diversity of parish councils is their strength. Each can make a unique contribution to the needs of local communities.
Visit our online mapping service to see an online map of towns and parishes in Wokingham borough (green boundaries show wards and pink boundaries show parishes).
What do town and parish councils do?
Town and parish councils are an integral part of the Local Government structure and perform a number of important roles as:
- Providers and supporters of services
- Signposts and access points to services
- Representatives and community leaders
Parishes discuss and take action on issues of interest to their area. They have a range of powers including provision of recreational facilities, halls, crime prevention, community transport, public toilets, tourism, allotments, footpaths and commons but they are not obliged to use these powers and carry out these functions. Their activities fall into 3 main categories:
- Representing the local community
- Delivering services to meet local needs
- Striving to improve quality of life and community well-being
Councillors and clerks
Parishes are made up of a number of councillors appropriate to their size and responsibilities. Their councillors are elected volunteers who serve for 4 years.
All of the town and parish councils in Wokingham have a paid clerk, who provides advice and administrative support to councillors and takes action to implement council decisions. The clerk may also operate as a project manager, personnel director, public relations officer or finance administrator. The larger councils may have several members of staff.
How are town and parish councils funded?
Parishes raise their funds through a charge (precept) made against all households in their area which is collected through Council Tax. The level of the charge is set by town and parishes and reflects the funding it will need for the coming year. They may also obtain funds from other sources such as Community Infrastructure Levy (CiL), income from facilities and other external sources.
To contact a town or parish council in Wokingham Borough visit our Town and Parish council contact details website page.