What we do
Sopley Parish Council is made up of seven councillors, supported by a Parish Clerk. The Council is elected by secret ballot of Parishioners every 4 years - normally in early May - to coincide with a national cycle of elections to the other tiers of local government at District and County Council level. The next Parish elections are due to be held in May 2015.
If vacancies arise on the Parish Council between election dates, the vacancy is notified to Parishioners and if a volunteer is forthcoming, that person can be co-opted onto the Council for the remainder of the four year term. In the event of more than one volunteer coming forward, a by-election may be called.
All of the Parish Councillors are unpaid volunteers who give of their time freely to assist the local community. The Parish Clerk is a paid employee of the Parish who works on a part-time basis (currently between 45 and 60 hours per month).
The Parish Council have a limited number of statutory responsibilities - mainly concerned with the provision and maintenance of public amenities (such as the Cemetery) in the Parish. More importantly however, they are the first tier of government and are the primary means of consultation between other statutory bodies and the local community on a wide range of matters including planning and development control, community safety, environmental matters and highways and traffic management.
The Parish Council is able to raise funding to cover it's running costs and statutory responsibilities through a local levy applied to households as part of their Council Tax payment. The Parish is required to account for all of it's financial transactions and these accounts are audited on an annual basis and are available for public inspection on request.
The Parish Council meets in formal public session every two months at the Parish Hall in Priest's Lane. However, much of the day to day work of the Council is conducted outside of these meetings and the Councillors and Clerk maintain an ongoing 'task-list' to keep track of their activities and to try to ensure that important matters do not get overlooked.