Parish and Town Councils
Thanks to Malvern District Council for the information….
Parish councils are your grassroots local councils, run by councillors who volunteer their time to make their community a better place. They work towards improving community well-being and providing better services.
Their work falls into three main categories:
- Representing the local community
- Delivering services to meet local needs
- Striving to improve the quality of life in the parish
Malvern Hills District has 54 democratically elected parish councils.
These powers are distinct from the other levels of local government:
- County councils provide services that cover the whole county such as education, highways, rights of way, waste disposal and adult social care.
- District councils are smaller and provide local services such as refuse collection, environmental health, and leisure facilities.
Every parish council in the district has a Parish Clerk, who is the best person to contact regarding individual Parish Council matters.
How does a parish council work?
Local councils provide and maintain a variety of important and visible local services, including:
- Allotments, bridleways, burial grounds, bus shelters, car parks, commons and open spaces,
- Community transport schemes, community safety and crime reduction measures, events and festivals,
- Footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, planning, street cleaning and lighting,
- Tourism activities, traffic calming measures, village greens and youth projects.
Parish councils meet regularly to address their responsibilities.
Parish councils are responsible for managing their budgets. They are financed through the precept, an amount of money calculated as an estimate for the coming financial year and collected as part of your council tax.
This money is used to improve facilities and services for local people. Parish councils can also apply for other funding, such as grants and awards. Approximately 4p in every pound of your council tax goes to your parish council. Visit our Council Tax page for more details.
Parish councils actively encourage input from residents on what the community needs so they can budget for that activity.
The Localism Act, which came into force in 2011, passes more power to communities and encourages those communities to become more self-reliant. Community rights powers are a cornerstone of this legislation. Read The Localism Act.
- Read Neighbourhood planning
- Community Right to Build, Challenge and Bid – Find out more details at the UK national Community Rights website.
For further details on the Localism Act and the various rights, visit the Department for Communities and Local Government website.
Parish councils can extend their powers to do anything to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of their community as long as it is within the law. To exercise this right, a parish council must adopt the general power of competence, subject to fulfilling certain criteria.
Become a councillor
Parish elections occur every four years; the last election was the 4th of May, 2023. Information about standing for election can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website or take a look at our Becoming a Councillor page.
Further information about the role of a parish councillor and guidance on standing for election can also be found on the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) website which provides these publications:
- Read all about local councils
- It takes all sorts: Local councils: represent your community, make a difference
Attending parish council meetings
Your councillors meet regularly as a parish council and welcome attendance and participation from the communities they serve. Meetings are advertised, but you can contact the parish council clerk for dates and times of the forthcoming meetings.
Joining a working group that deals with specific issues within the parish
Parish councils get involved in lots of projects with their communities. Working groups comprise parish councillors and community representatives working on a specific project, such as setting up a new local shop, carrying out a parish plan or helping to develop a neighbourhood plan.
- Read about how to become a Parish Path Warden
- Worcestershire County Association of Local Councils (CALC) is a not-for-profit, voluntary, member-based organisation open to all parish and town councils across Worcestershire. View Worcestershire County Association of Local Councils website(