How the Parish Council Works

Hawkchurch Parish Council and its Committees

Hawkchurch has a Parish Council and two Committees:

  1. The Playing Field Committee which meets quarterly.
  2. The Planning Committee. The Planning Committee only meets if the business cannot be covered by the normal parish council meeting. It should be noted that while the Parish Council is consulted on planning applications, the planning authority is East Devon District Council or for certain planning applications Devon County Council.

Parish council meetings

A parish council in England must hold not less than four meetings in each year, one of which must be the Annual Parish Council Meeting, which has to take place every year in May.

At the Annual Parish Council Meeting a new chairperson must be nominated. A vice-chairman may be nominated also and appointments to committees made. In an election year the Annual Parish Council Meeting must take place on the day when councillors take office, or within 14 days thereafter.

The Agenda sets out the business of each meeting. The Clerk must display a signed agenda, in a public place, at least 3 clear days before an ordinary meeting and send a copy to all members of the council. The purpose of an agenda is for councillors and the public to know what issues will be discussed and voted on. A council cannot lawfully make decisions on anything that is not on the agenda.

Hawkchurch Parish Council publishes the Agendas for its meetings on the notice board outside the Village Hall, on the website and usually but not always on the village Facebook page.

Where and when does the parish council meet?

Hawkchurch Parish Council at the Hawkchurch Village Hall on the third Tuesday in the month except August. 

The May meeting is the Annual Council Meeting.

In April the Annual Parish Meeting is held. This is not a council meeting, but a meeting of the parish, and is open to everyone.

Attendance at meetings

In order for meetings to be quorate one third of council members, or 3, whichever is greater, must be present. Attendance and apologies, with reasons for absence, must be recorded.

A councillor is disqualified if s/he does not attend a meeting in 6 months and his/her long-term absence has not been agreed upon by a full parish council meeting.

If a councillor is late or leaves early, a record must be made as this could affect quorum, etc.

Parish council meetings must be open to the public and press. However, they may be excluded for part of the meeting if the council resolves that publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest, or for other special reasons stated in the resolution.

All Council meetings are open to the public and include an item called the Democratic Period in which you can ask questions or make a statement to the council.

Decision making

All matters coming before a council must be decided upon by a majority of councillors present and voting. Each councillor has one vote and must vote in person. (Councillors who have been disqualified by declaring a prejudicial interest will not vote). In addition the chair has the casting vote if it is required.


Minutes must be kept of all proceedings of a council meeting. They should be short and concise. The pages must be numbered and after they have been approved, signed by the Chairman. Minutes are only legal evidence after they have been signed. The agenda and the minutes must tally up. Each resolution must be either Approved, Rejected or Actioned.

How are parish councils funded?

The funding for parish councils is allocated by the district council and is taken from the area’s council tax; this is called an annual precept. The income and expenditure for the next financial year are calculated in the form of estimates and this amount is added to the local council tax and then returned to the parishes in two yearly instalments. They can also apply for UK grants, loans and other funding for example, EU money under Objectives 1 and 2.

15-Jan-19Parish Council
15-Jan-19Playing Field Committee
19-Feb-19Parish Council
19-Mar-19Parish Council
16-Apr-19Parish Council
16-Apr-19Annual Parish Meeting
14-May-19Annual Parish Council
18-Jun-19Playing Field Committee
18-Jun-19Parish Council
17-Sep-19Parish Council
15-Oct-19Parish Council
19-Nov-19Parish Council
17-Dec-19Parish Council - Cancelled