Parish councils are made up of councillors who are elected to serve and represent the residents of that parish only. We allocate their funding, which comes from Council Tax paid by the residents of that parish.
By law, parish councils must have at least five councillors, with most made up of between six and 12 councillors. These councillors are local people interested in representing their parish and are not necessarily tied to a political party.
Parish councillors are chosen by local residents in parish elections and serve for four years terms. If only one candidate stands for a seat, then they are appointed to the seat.
These councillors make decisions collectively and by majority, and are accountable to the local community.
Parish councils and their councillors are entirely separate from Chelmsford City Council.
The city council is made up of 57 elected Councillors, who form the ‘Full Council’. Each of them represents different political parties. In Chelmsford, the Liberal Democrat Party have the majority, followed by Conservative Party and the Chelmsford Independent Group.
However, it is impractical for Full Council to make day-to-day decisions, therefore we use a ‘Leader and Cabinet’ model.
The Cabinet is formed of up to nine other councillors from the majority leading political party. They are responsible for making day-to-day decisions within the budgets and policies that the Full Council has agreed.
In addition to the Cabinet, there are several other committees that take decisions for specific areas of council business. For example, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee makes sure the council is using taxpayers’ money wisely and well. Different councillors sit on each of these committees.
We also employ local government officers to carry out the decisions made by councillors. They ensure that council policies are put in place and council services are being delivered well. Officers are strictly non-political and don’t make any political decisions. This can only be done by elected councillors.