Who we are

What is a Parish Council?

Parish or Town Councils are an important tier of Government within the UK; a Parish/Town Council is the smallest and most localised tier of local government in the UK and is a properly constituted local authority.

The powers and duties, and the manner in which a Parish Council operates are laid out in local government statute and regulations; Parish Councils operate at a level below national government and also below district and borough councils. Parish & Town Councils are elected and can help on a number of local issues, like planning applications or running local sports grounds and community halls.

Government Definition

The Parish Council has legal responsibilities as an employer, and sometimes as an owner of public land and buildings.

Parish Councils are Statutory Bodies, having powers under a number of different Acts (the Local Government Act 1972, the Public Health Act 1936, etc.). Only a few Councils need to use all their available powers. It is up to each Council to choose what is appropriate for the community they serve.

The Council raises funds by the annual Precept is set in January of each year. The amount required is guided by the setting of the annual budget in the November preceding.

The Parish Council precept is added to the Council Tax bill and collected by Durham County Council (on behalf of the Parish Council).

The Council also raises funds through grants from other organisations.

Hawthorn Parish Council

Hawthorn Parish Council has seven members. The Parish Council exists to help residents [sometimes called parishioners] and to be a point of contact for ideas and suggestions for improvements in the village. We have one employee, the Clerk, who manages all financial and administrative aspects in connection to council business.

The Council owns some open spaces and a playground.

The work of the members of the Council is voluntary, and the members [Councillors] give their time freely to help enhance the village and support the village’s other organisations, for the benefit of all residents. Please support them by providing your feedback, questions and ideas.

Parish Council Remit


Parish Councillors