Contact us:-
Council Offices
Library Building
Broadway, Shifnal, TF11 8AZ
Office is open 10am - 1pm

T: 01952 461 420

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Meetings &
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As a tier of local government town councils are elected bodies with discretionary powers and rights laid down by Parliament to represent their communities and provide services for them.

All councils are constituted in the same way; Councillors (or “Members”) are elected by the local government electorate and each council has a Chair, who must be one of the elected Councillors.

A council is a corporate body with perpetual succession and a name. A council’s lawful acts, assets and liabilities are its own and not those of its Councillors or any other council. A council must act within the law: it can spend, raise or use money only if it has a statutory power to do so, otherwise it acts ultra vires (beyond its powers) and Councillors could be personally liable.

Councils have a wide range of powers under different acts of Parliament. Most of these powers are discretionary, i.e. a council may do something, rather than it must do something.

List of Town Council Powers & Duties
(this is not an exhaustive list)
Function Powers & Duties
Allotments Duty to provide allotments
Power to improve and adapt land for allotments, and to let grazing rights
Baths and washhouses Power to provide public baths and washhouses
Burial Grounds, cemeteries and crematoria Power to acquire and maintain
Power to provide
Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials
Power to contribute towards expenses of cemeteries
Bus shelters Power to provide and maintain shelters
Bye-laws Power to make Bye-laws in regard to pleasure grounds
Power to provide Cycle parks
Power to provide Baths and washhouses
Power to provide Open spaces and burial grounds
Power to provide Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms
Clocks Power to provide public clocks
Closed churchyards Powers as to maintenance
Common pastures Powers in relation to providing common pasture
Conference facilities Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities
Community centres Power to provide and equip buildings for use of clubs having athletic, social or recreational objectives
Crime prevention Powers to install and maintain equipment and establish and maintain a scheme for detection or prevention of crime
Power to contribute to police services e.g. PCSOs
Duty on Parish Councils to consider crime reduction in every policy and action
Drainage Power to deal with ponds and ditches
Dogs Power to make a Dog Control Order
Power to take enforcement action against those who commit an offence against a Dog Control Order
Entertainment and the arts Power to provide provision of entertainment and support of the arts
Flyposting and Graffiti Power to take enforcement action against those that flypost or graffiti
Gifts Power to accept
Highways Power to maintain footpaths and bridle-ways
Power to light roads and public places
Provision of litter bins
Powers to provide parking places for bicycles and motor-cycles, and other vehicles
Power to enter into agreement as to dedication and widening
Power to provide roadside seats and shelters
Power to Consent to ending of maintenance of highway at public expense, or for stopping up or diversion of highway
Power to complain to highway authority as to unlawful stopping up or obstruction of highway or unlawful encroachment on roadside wastes
Power to provide traffic signs and other objects or devices warning of danger
Power to plant trees and lay out grass verges etc. and to maintain them
Investments Power to participate in schemes of collective investment
Land Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate, to dispose of
Power to accept gifts of land
Litter Power to provide receptacles
Power to take enforcement action against those that litter
Lotteries Powers to promote
Mortuaries and post mortem rooms Powers to provide mortuaries and post mortem rooms
Open spaces Power to acquire land and maintain
Parish documents Powers to direct as to their custody
Telecommunications facilities Power to pay public telecommunications operators any loss sustained providing telecommunication facilities
Public buildings and village hall Power to provide buildings for public meetings and assemblies
Public conveniences Power to provide
Sustainable communities Power to provide representative on panel to be consulted on proposals that would contribute to sustainable communities
Town and country planning Right to be notified of planning applications
Tourism Power to encourage visitors and provide conference and other facilities
Traffic calming Powers to contribute financially to traffic calming schemes
Transport Powers in relation to car-sharing schemes, taxi fare concessions and information about transport
Powers to make grants for bus services
War memorials Power to maintain, repair, protect and alter war memorials
Water supply Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water from them

The next tier of local government in Shropshire is the Unitary Council, in our case Shropshire Council. For enquiries relating to the responsibilities of Shropshire Council, please ring their Customer Service Helpline on 0345 678 9000.

A very rough guide to who does what

Unitary Council Town Councils
Monitoring Officer for
Ethics & Probity for Town Members
Most schools
Special education
Nursery, adult, community
Personal Social Services
Securing provision for the elderly, children and those with disabilities (including social care and health and residential care)
Inspection Services
Management and maintenance of council houses
Working with Housing Associations (known as Registered Social Landlords)
Housing advice
Renovation grants
Unfit housing
Residential care
Cemeteries and Burials, Crematoria Closed churchyards
Strategic planning/structure plans
Minerals and waste planning
Historic buildings
Local Development Framework
Development control (Planning applications and enforcement)
Advertising consent
Historic buildings
Conservation areas
Tree preservation
Planning – as consultees only
Public transport
Highways and parking
Traffic management
Footpaths and bridleways
Transport planning
Street lighting
Unclassified roads
Off-street car parking
Road safety
Local transport plans

Bus shelters

War and other memorials

Street lighting
Emergency Planning  
Parks, open spaces and halls
Support for the arts
Archives and Record Office
Museums/Art Galleries
Swimming pools and leisure centres

Public open spaces
Village halls
Playing fields
Museums and the arts
Economic Development  
Tourism Development Tourism Development
Environmental Services
Refuse disposal
Refuse collection/street cleansing
Management of travellers/gypsy sites
Food safety
Public conveniences
Dog and pest control
Noise abatement
Health & Safety
Trading Standards

Litter bins and litter clearance

Local charities


Public seating
Licensing – as consultees
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Library & Information Service  
Electoral Registration/Elections  
Council Tax and Business Rate collection  
Grants to voluntary bodies Grants to voluntary bodies
Help with Lottery Applications  
Community Safety (anti-social behaviour, alcohol byelaws) Community Planning  

For enquiries relating to the responsibilities of Shropshire Council, please ring the Customer Service Helpline on 0345 678 9000.  

The Town Clerk
The Clerk is the ‘engine’ of an effective council. He or she is its principal executive and adviser and, for the majority of smaller councils, is the officer responsible for the administration of its financial affairs.

The Clerk is required to give clear guidance to Councillors, including the Chair, before decisions are reached, even when that guidance may be unpalatable. The Clerk has a key role in advising the council and Councillors, on governance, ethical and procedural matters. He/she must also liaise with the Monitoring Officer at the unitary council on ethical issues and the Councillors’ Register of Interests.

Some larger councils employ a range of administration and support staff and the Clerk is normally responsible for advising the council on staffing provision and managing the recruitment process. In smaller councils the Clerk may also carry out the role of the Responsible Finance Officer (RFO). However, it is common for a separate RFO to be appointed and given specific duties relating to the budget, annual accounts and audit to ensure proper financial management and transparency.

Most councils encourage their Clerks to seek professional recognition for the work that they do. A qualified Clerk is one of several pre-requisites for a council achieving Quality Council status.
The Clerk is an independent and objective servant of the council who takes instructions from the corporate body and must recognise that the council is responsible for all decisions.

In an emergency (e.g. to cover a temporary vacancy) a Councillor may fulfil the role of Clerk to the council (this must be unpaid (see below)). However, it is not good practice for Councillors to do this as it confuses the roles of and relationship between Officer/Member.

Councillors may not be paid employees of their council (as there is an unacceptable conflict of interest) and may not become employees of their former council until at least 12 months after ceasing to be a Councillor.
Coffee, Cake and Healthy Information
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
10am - 1pm
Shifnal Village Hall, Aston Street, Shifnal. TF11 8DW
Find out more here »

Applications are invited from local groups to apply for funding from Shifnal Town Council.
Find out more here »

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