What are local councils and what do they do?

Local (parish, town, neighbourhood, village, community or city) councils are the first tier of local government in England. There are around 9,000 local councils in England made up of nearly 80,000 local councillors. They deliver a range of services at a community level and their role is to represent the local community, provide services to meet local needs and improve quality of life and community wellbeing.

NALC has long supported the need for a fundamental shift of power to local people and supports the establishment of local councils in all areas – urban and rural – so that people can benefit from first tier representation and opportunities for service delivery.

There are 200 more local councils in England now than just over ten years ago, with communities now taking more control over their decisions and services through the establishment of new local councils.

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Why create a new local council?

Further Grants Available under the DCLG / NALC / CALC New Councils’ Programme 2014-2015

The Grant Agreement between NALC and DCLG for the 2014-15 NALC / CALC / DCLG New Councils’ Programme was signed by both organisations on 1 April, 2014.  The Programme’s aim is to;

- Encourage the creation of more parish councils in England;
– Sustain the work of more new parish councils in England; and
– Ensure that as the process to create parish councils is made easier, more sustainable campaigns to create parish councils in England are created.

Accordingly, funded by DCLG, NALC is making available by 31 March 2015;

- 24 New Campaign grants of up to £10, 000 to support new campaigns to create parish councils in England (unfunded in 2013-14);
- 16 Ongoing Campaign grants of up to £5K (for campaigns £10K funded in 2013-14) and to the difference from £10K not received in 2013-14 (for campaign groups part-funded in 2013-14);
- 2 New Council grants of up to £25, 000 to support the sustainability work of new councils receiving their creation order between 1 April 2013 and 1 April, 2014; and
- 80 CALC Outreach bursaries of up to £1K (40 to 30 September 2014; and 40 more to 31 March 2015) each for County Associations of Local Councils with un-parished areas to apply for to engage in early out-reach work at an agreed day-rate, to encourage new councils and campaign groups to apply for these grants.

(1)  Click here to download the Guidance Notes and application form to apply for a New Campaign Grant;

(2)  Click here to download the Guidance Notes and application form to apply for an Ongoing Campaign Grant; &

(3) Click here to download an application form for a CALC Outreach Bursary.

Campaign Groups will be expected to work through their County Association of Local Councils to apply for a New Campaign or Ongoing Campaign Grant and they will be expected to sign a local grant agreement with the National Association before monies can be released to the relevant County Association on their behalf.

New London Local Councils

Since the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 finally allowed new local councils to be created in London, there has been a lot of interest from community and campaign groups in the creation of new parish councils (often with Community Council status), in their areas. The strongest campaign to emerge was from around late 2010 in Queens Park, Paddington. Westminster City Council cut the funding to deliver much needed services to residents in this deprived area and local people – through the help of the Paddington Development Trust (and NALC) decided to campaign for a Community Council (with parish status) to deliver much needed services.

On 22 January 2011 the formal campaign to introduce a community council in Queen’s Park was launched by residents with the support of Queen’s Park Forum, with the aim of providing an ongoing voice for local residents. In April 2011, the Queens Park campaign presented to Westminster Council – the principal authority for the area – over 1400 signatures asking for a parish council. On 28 May, 2012, Queens Park residents formally voted ‘yes’ to having a Community Council with parish status in their area. The result was announced at Marylebone town hall – 1100 residents or 68% voted ‘yes’. Westminster City Council subsequently agreed to the creation of the council. The first parish elections in Queens Park ward will take place on 22 May, 2014.

Click here to read the Create a Council case study from Queens Park on the ongoing work there to create a new local council.