How Wales is Governed
Working with Community & Town Councils
There are 735 community and town councils in Wales with a mix of around 8,000 elected or co-opted councillors. Many county councillors are ‘dual hatted’, also serving on their local community or town council.
Community and town councils are not present in every part of Wales as there is a procedure for forming new councils; they can be established or disbanded at the wishes of the community. They can set a ‘precept’ or ‘rate’ which is collected by the principal council along with the Council Tax.
The level of services provided by community and town councils varies across Wales but can include:
- Provision and maintenance of community transport schemes
- Local youth projects
- Tourism activities
- Leisure facilities
- Car parks
- Village greens
- Public lavatories
- Litter bins
- Biodiversity schemes (there is a duty under the Environment (Wales) Act 2021 for all councils to prepare biodiversity plans)
- Burial grounds
- Bus shelters
- Commons and open spaces
- Footpaths and bridleways
- Crime reduction measures
- Provision of village hall or contributing to another body that provides a facility
In addition, many councils use the Section 137 discretionary power that enables them to provide other services, such as public telephones; village surgeries; preservation or restoration of old objects or buildings; best kept village competition; tidying land of unknown ownership; Christmas trees; flower shows, festivals and fairs; contributions to play groups and youth clubs; meals on wheels; and assistance for the disabled.
Working with local councils
Almost all community councils employ a Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer who is responsible for the efficient administration of the Council which includes servicing of meetings; ensuring the council meets its legal obligations and handling its financial processes. The medium to large councils (some with budgets over £1 million) employ a range of other staff including administrators, cleaners, maintenance staff etc. All councils are required to have standing orders and financial regulations to regulate their operations.
If your community is covered by a community and town council, you will normally work closely with the councillors and council on areas of mutual interest or common concern.
Most local authorities have agreed charters with their community and town councils which outline shared values, approaches to engagement and joint work and many meet regularly through liaison forums or meetings.
One Voice Wales
One Voice Wales is the organisation which represents and provides support services to community and town councils across Wales. For further information, visit www.onevoicewales.org.uk
If you are also a member of a community and town council you’ll find the Good Councillors Guide useful.