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Parish Plan

As the first tier of local government Parish Councils have to abide by many rules and procedures that govern both the conduct of meetings and the conduct of Councillors. Every meeting takes place in public and the records of every Council are open to public scrutiny. Yet to many people, Parish Councils seem to be hidden bodies, lost in a murk of agenda, committee meetings and points of order.

Yet there is a drive to make Parish Councils not only be public, but be seen to be public and Tarvin Parish Council has started a series of improvements to ensure that this happens locally. They have agreed to work towards meeting the Foundation Standard of the Local Council Awards Scheme, a peer review scheme set up by the National Association of Local Councils.

Unfortunately at the moment Tarvin can never achieve formal accreditation. This is because of the 11 places on the council, the proportion of elected to co-opted councillors is too low. Though it has been many years since Tarvin residents have been asked to choose their parish councillor by ticking a box on election day of the present members Councillors Lush, Cotgreave, Jones, Pochin, Twigg and Hardacre stood at the 2015 election and were deemed to be elected as less than 11 people put their names forward. Councillors Lloyd, Holmes, Ford and Ryan have been co-opted since and there remains one vacancy to be filled.

To meet the requirements of the award, which represents the basic standard all parish councils should aspire to, Tarvin has agreed to the following:

The website, which is currently hosted by Tarvin Online, will be improved and will carry a much wider range of documents and information. This will include budget information, standing orders, complaints procedure, publication scheme, code of conduct, members register of interests, and the reports that furnish the information on which decisions are made. Dry stuff some of this and unlikely to be everyday reading, but it tells you, the ratepayer, how the Parish Council should behave and helps you challenge it if you think things are going wrong.
Despite the prevalence of on-line information the Parish Council also realises that the printed word still has a part to play, especially for older people. The Tarvin Times quarterly newsletter will be redesigned to carry colour pictures. This is hardly revolutionary but hopefully this will attract the eyes of readers who will take more note of the news inside and help all feel more integrated into the Parish.

On a more prosaic level, the lay out of the Edna Rose Room has been altered for meetings so that part of the Council does not have its back to the public. It's not easy when all need to see the screen and each other, but it is an indication of the willingness to listen, adapt and change.

Please do talk to your councillors. Only by dialogue will the ebb and flow of information and opinions create the dynamic that keeps Parish life lively and engaged.

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