Civil Parish councils were formed in England under the Local Government Act 1894 to take over local oversight of civic duties in rural towns and villages.  

The principal effects of the Act were:

  • The creation a system of urban and rural districts with elected councils. These, along with the town councils of municipal boroughs created earlier in the century, formed a second tier of local government below the existing county councils.
  • The establishment of elected parish councils in rural areas.
  • The reform of the boards of guardians of poor law unions.
  • The entitlement of women who owned property to vote in local elections, become poor law guardians, and act on school boards.

Parish Councils are the smallest areas of civil administration in England providing the statutory tier of local government closest to the people. They are corporate bodies and local authorities recognised in law and must meet at a minimum of four meetings a year.      One of these meetings must be the Annual Meeting of the council which must be held in May of each year, the Chairman or mayor is always chosen at this meeting.   

Definition of a Parish Council

Powers & Duties