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Information for Parish and Town Councils

Town and parish councils are key partners for Cornwall Council and are critical to the success of the localism agenda given their local knowledge and experience.

Please see below for information specifically for town and parish councils:

Cornwall Council's Communities and Devolution team keep town and parish councils informed about issues that are of interest or relevant to them through the monthly Communities and Devolution Bulletin newsletter

Town and parish councils are a very important part of community life in Cornwall, providing a range of public services and places that are all well used by local people. They are the grassroots level of local government, directly promoting the interests of their communities and helping parishioners with local issues, often by taking up their problems with higher authority.

Today, local councils' role in serving the local community is becoming more important than ever, as services are increasingly devolved to local control as part of the ‘Big Society’ drive by central government.  So it’s really important that local councils take steps to ensure that the interests of the most vulnerable people in their communities, such as children, young people, and vulnerable adults, are taken into account and provided with protection.

This toolkit aims to dispel the myths around safeguarding arrangements, by showing how to build good but simple safeguarding arrangements where the interests of children, young people and vulnerable adults are always considered within a sensible minimum of procedures and rules.

The toolkit should be used by all town and parish councils to ensure that safeguarding practice is embedded in all aspects of your work and the services provided.

There is also a bite size guide available.

A number of local councils have asked what a neighbourhood development plan might actually look like.  Whilst there is no definitive example of a neighbourhood plan Planning and Regeneration have produced the St. Somewhere Neighbourhood Plan as an example of what a plan might be like, purely as a general guide.

St Somewhere - example of a Neighbourhood Development Plan

It is hoped that this example will be of assistance and will promote debate. Any comments, questions and useful pointers are welcome by email to: neighbourhoodplanning@cornwall.gov.uk or phone: 0300 1234 151. It is important to note that new national guidance is regularly being issued and further guidance will be issued if required. It may well be the case that the published regulations will therefore necessitate an update of the St. Somewhere neighbourhood plan example, which will come to you via future newsletters.

The Devolution Framework builds on the previous Aactive Partnering Framework which was developed in September 2008 to include more services and encourage more local council participation.

The devolution framework forms the basis of the service delivery partnership arrangements between the unitary authority and town and parish councils at various levels of engagement, from straightforward service monitoring through to the full devolvement of services. 

Each Cornwall Councillor has a small Community Grant allocation to assist projects run by voluntary and community groups in the Cornwall Council area they represent. The Community Grants can be used for a wide range of groups and activities including helping vulnerable children or adults, helping young people, providing facilities for older people, supporting community facilities, local environment projects and helping projects to tackle community safety issues.

Groups and organisations can apply for these small grants, which range between a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £1,000.  More details and application forms are available from Community Network Support Advisors.

Organisations are advised to consult with the local Cornwall Councillor in the first instance to ensure an application would be supported and adequate funds are available.

You can find your Cornwall Councillor by entering your postcode on the my area page.

It’s hard to imagine the horror of flood, severe weather or another emergency without our blue light services, but at the very beginning of an emergency, communities are alone. The local people at the scene of an incident will always be there first and may have to cope until help arrives.

After the emergency services arrive, various community resources can help them deal with the problem and its aftermath.

And sometimes there are events that don’t seem like an emergency, such as winter snowfall, that can put vulnerable members of the community at risk.

A Community Emergency Plan (CEP) can help a community prepare for an emergency and reduce its impact.

The CEP is designed as a first point of reference for help and should assist the community in helping themselves until the emergency services arrive. The information they contain can also be useful in responding to smaller scale problems relating, for example, to the local impacts of snow and ice.

Usually it’s a local town or parish council that will take the lead in preparing a CEP and overseeing its use in an emergency.

Putting together a plan will help local councils take basic steps to identify:

  • What resources they have in their community, such as 4x4 vehicles, people with useful skills and local knowledge.
  • Where to go to if there is an immediate need to evacuate and take shelter;
  • How to mobilise those resources and who to contact.

‘Preparing for an Emergency in the Community: Guidance on Developing a Community Emergency Plan

Template for a Community Emergency Plan (CEP).

Further guidance and assistance in putting together a CEP can be obtained from your local Community Network Manager.

We recognise that our communities and the people that receive services from us all come from different backgrounds and are all individuals, each with differing needs. So we try hard to take that into account in the policies we adopt and the services we provide. We aim to make sure that everyone gets treated fairly.

As a Town or Parish Council, by understanding local differences and encouraging others to do the same, you can make your town or parish a great place for our communities to live and work in. Everyone can feel included and fairly treated.

It’s also a duty under the Equalities Act that everyone works to create a way of doing things that recognizes, respects, values and harnesses difference for the benefit of our communities.

For guidance please read the Community Impact Assessment Toolkit or to view a completed assessment, Rememberance Day Parade by St Austell Town Council.

Town and parish councils can play a key role in supporting local events.  Find out more on our event management and town and parish councils page or see our guidance on organising events.

Community and living

0300 1234 232