Funding and Resources in Community Councils

cc_umbrella-and-blue-peopleCommunity Councils in England do not have the power to raise funds, unlike parish and town councils in England. Most Community Councils rely on local authorities as their main source of funds, and Local Authorities are required to raise funds for the Community Councils.

In the financial year 1997/98, Local authorities spent around £1 million on community councils. Local authorities in rural areas provided greater sums than those in urban areas – with 48 pence per head provided in rural areas compared to the nine pence per head in urban areas. Intermediate areas received grants equivalent to 21 pence per head.

Common methods of funding

The most common method is an annual grant provided. This is provided for administrative costs, and is calculated based on the population, or number of community councillors. There is also the opportunity to apply for funds for specific projects. Some local authorities will keep it simple by providing the same grant to all community councils in its area.

In the rural areas the grants are used for maintaining local burial grounds, assisting with maintenance of private access roads, and giving grants to local voluntary organisations. A clerk in each community council assists with these activities. The council pays the clerk.

The general opinion by Community Councillors is that the councils are under-funded, although there are a few councils who report under-spending of their grants.

Local authorities also provide resources in addition to fund to the Community Councils, such as green use of council premises and training courses or seminars. The training provided was more information-focused, rather than skills-based. Topics of such trainings include planning procedures, and best value. While Community Councillors appreciate the training, opinion is divided as to whether skills training was needed.

Where there is a big lack of training, however, is induction training for new Community Councillors.