Parish and Town Councils Charter

Table of Contents

Aim

To create a framework for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council and Parish/Town Councils to work in partnership to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area and its residents, businesses and visitors. We will work in partnership for the benefit of the local community while respecting mutual rights as separate democratic bodies.

Promoting the role of parish and town councils

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council will:

  • Recognise the importance of Parish/Town Councils as a tier of local government and will work closely with them to promote active engagement/participation.
  • Provide information/briefings to its staff and members to ensure they have a good understanding of the role and function of the Parish/Town Councils.
  • Recognise and understand that there are differing resources available within Parish/Town Councils and therefore their ability to handle information will vary.
  • Hold regular liaison meetings with Parish/Town Councils in addition to the Parish Conference.

Parish/Town councils will:

  • Share their work and achievements with residents, businesses and visitors, the Borough and other Parish/Town Councils.
  • Encourage active engagement/participation across all groups.
  • Identify local needs and consult with local communities and share where appropriate with the Borough.
  • Provide the Borough with information on the services and facilities provided by the Parish/Town Council.

Effective Communication

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council will:

  • Agree with each Parish/Town Council the best communication channels to use for quick, proactive and efficient communication.
  • Produce a regularly updated contact list of Borough Officers and Members and provide this on the website.
  • Provide direct access to Parish/Town Councils via the phone, email and digital channels.
  • Use plain English in written communication.
  • Make every effort to attend Parish/Town Council meetings when invited.
  • Provide access to Parish/Town councils in the use of survey tools.

Parish/Town Councils will: 

  • Agree with the Borough best communication channels to use for quick, proactive and efficient communication.
  • Make every effort to attend meetings/events run by the Borough in which they have an interest.
  • Initiate the Council’s formal complaints procedure if they are dissatisfied with Borough actions, their response to a request for information or their failure to consult, after all other avenues of communication have been exhausted.

Consultation

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council will:

  • Consult Parish/Town Councils on all issues which are likely to affect their area prior to a decision.
  • Allow six weeks for Parish/Town Councils to respond to a consultation. If this is not possible the Parish/Town Council will be given an explanation. (This does not apply to planning applications. These are covered in Appendix 1).
  • Provide a summary report/brief for complex consultations.
  • Provide briefing sessions/workshops to Parish/Town Councils on complex consultation issues.
  • Make specific arrangements for consultation on Planning (see Appendix 1).
  • Have regard to the views of the Parish/Town Councils when making decisions and in areas of disagreement provide explanations to assist understanding.
  • Produce an annual list of key consultations to give Parish/Town councils advance notice.
  • Review all feedback from consultations to improve their quality.

Parish/Town Councils will:

  • Take part in consultation exercises and respond within the given period.
  • Notify the Borough if they cannot respond to a consultation within the given period.
  • Work with the Borough to seek the views of residents and businesses on issues of common interest.
  • Make available agendas and papers to Borough Ward councillors. Officers and Councillors of the Borough will be given an opportunity to speak at local Parish/Town Council meetings on matters of mutual interest.
  • Make available copies of Parish/Town Council consultations and invite the Borough to respond.

Service Provision and monitoring

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council will:

  • Provide detailed responses to requests for information from Parish/Town Councils within 10-working days.
  • Provide comprehensive information to allow Parish/Town Councils to decide whether they wish to take or wish the Borough to provide functions/services on request. 
  • On request, provide service specifications against which monitoring can take place along with procedures for reporting service failures or any developing service delivery problems.
  • Consult and respond to issues raised by Parish/Town Councils concerning new service delivery models or changes to existing ways of working.
  • Allow access to Borough support services (e.g. printing, graphics, mapping, purchasing, training, surveys) at the same cost as they are offered to Borough.

Parish/Town Councils will:

  • Make available to the Borough their meeting places for public, community or partnership meetings in which they have an interest.
  • Consider whether they wish to take on or have the Borough provide any functions/services based on the information as detailed in the second bullet point above.
  • Provide monitoring feedback on services provided by the Borough directly or through their partners/contractors.

Training

Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council will:

  • Ensure new staff and councillor induction includes this Charter.
  • Give Parish/Town Councils access to the Borough’s relevant training courses.
  • Offer briefings on central and local government policies and initiatives which have an impact on Parish/Town Councils, in conjunction with DALC.

Parish/Town Councils will:

  • Ensure new staff and councillor induction includes this Charter.
  • Encourage staff and members to attend relevant training courses and briefings.
  • Offer Borough staff access to Parish/Town Councils to learn more about the roles and responsibilities.

Status, Implementation, Review and Improvement

The status of this Charter is that of operational best practice, which sets out the reasonable expectations of the parties for a good working relationship. It is not a legally binding agreement but is a Code of Practice that should be adhered to by both parties.

Notwithstanding the above, all parties to this agreement shall endeavour to apply the principles contained herein by ensuring that all relevant Members and Staff are guided by this Charter’s operational expectations.

The Charter shall be reviewed annually with amendments being formalised by the Charter Working Group and approved at the Parish/Borough Conference after due consultation between the parties to this Charter. (Appendix 5)

Additional content block

Document authors

  • 2018 Charter Working Group (CWG): Stephen Hedges,
  • Cox Green Parish Council Chris Graham,
  • Bray Parish Council Jane Dawson,
  • Old Windsor Parish Council Anne-Catherine Buxton,
  • Sunningdale Parish Council Ruth Davies,
  • Sunningdale Parish Council Joanne Stickland,
  • Datchet Parish Council Martin Coker,
  • Cookham Parish Council Cllr Christine Bateson,
  • Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Andy Jeffs,
  • Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead David Scott, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

Last reviewed date : Friday 30 April 2021.

Democratic services : Contact details

For further information, please contact us by:

Democratic Services - Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
Town Hall, St Ives Road
Maidenhead SL6 1RF

Telephone: 07827 308651