Eric Pickles, The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government told a conference of the National Association of Local Councils in November last year:
“Local (parish and town) councils are localism’s magic wand and local services are at their best when they are run by local people. Localism requires local accountability and this is where local councils can provide this democratic mandate. We are giving you the power, now we are looking for you to deliver.”
Fine sounding words maybe, but read on for a take on what the real situation is...
On the one hand government has granted parishes power, but on the other they have hobbled parish councils. The Department for Communities and Local Government has reduced the local tax base by taking income from council tax benefits away from parishes, requiring them to go cap-in-hand to their district or unitary council for a share of the government's council tax support grant. There is the very real possibility that a district council will say, "sorry, we need all we can get to deliver our own statutory responsibilities".
This seems to be exactly the situation that Wivenhoe Town Council finds itself in.
maintainingthe register of members’ interests and in practice advising memberson conduct and conflicts of interest. For Monitoring Officers ofdistrict and unitary councils, this responsibility extends to parishcouncils within their area.
On exclusion from finance meetings, it would often be deemed necessary because personal salaries (e.g. of clerk and groundsmen) would be discussed.
Though I guess in theory (and at a district level, not necessarily town/parish) the rest could be discussed in public with that part in private?