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Councils operate within agreed policy rules, most derived from legislation, and some from nationally circulated codes of practice. It is the Council's responsibility to exercise its powers and duties in accordance with these rules, which are reviewed from time to time. They are advised in their deliberations by the Clerk to the Council, who is also responsible for administration and taking any actions that the Council directs. The Clerk, who is a part-time employee of the Council, is also the Responsible Financial Officer.
The Council has just one Committee, known as the Personnel Panel, and it has a Sub Committee. Both are used for the management of the Council's employees and proceedings are usually held in confidential session. The Terms of Reference of the Panel are below:
Our Standing Orders for Council and Committee procedure
The Council regulates its proceedings, and those of its Committees and Sub Committees, through Standing Orders. These set out the rules of debate, public and press access, how questions are handled, procedures for electing the Chairman, and for establishing Committees. They are based on a national Model, and can be seen below:
Our Financial Regulations
Also based on a national model, these regulations set out how we manage our public funds, arrange banking, and enter into contracts. They can be seen below:
For an easy-read 'plain english' guide to local council finance and its administration, see the Guide below:
Our Code of Conduct for councillors
Our Code of Conduct for Councillors is also taken from a national Model, and is supported by Isle of Wight Council, which also provides the local Standards Board to investigate and consider complaints. You can see our Code, which deals with both pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests and their declaration, below:
Councillors will have in mind the national guidance prepared for them and contained in the booklet here:
Register of Interests
Councillors are required by law to make a declaration of disclosable pecuniary interests, and choose to disclose their non-pecuniary interests, by placing them on the Public Register set out here.
Our Health & Safety Policy
Councillors are required to make a declaration of disclosable pecuniary interests, and have volunteered to disclose their non-pecuniary interests, by placing them on a Public Register that is available here. The Register is also hosted on Isle of Wight Council's website here, where all other parishes on the island are also listed.
The safety of everyone is our first priority. Our policy statement is below, which is reviewed annually. Whilst the Council remains accountable, the Clerk to the Council is the person responsible for putting the policy into practice.
Our Corporate Plan
The Parish Council seeks to add value to community life by providing a democratically accountable forum that provides leadership, influence, support and information for all that live, work or visit the parish area. Through a planning process the Council seeks a shared vision and direction, to protect what is important and consider new ways of getting things done that includes harnessing the skills and talent from within its own communities. The Council, along with all other public bodies, recognises that it must use its resources economically, efficiently and with due regard for the environment. So, choices have to be made about how the community receives its services from this and other organisations, or even whether some are received at all. By setting out the issues facing it and the wider community, the Parish Council can plan its contribution for the future. Our Policy Statement is below, with our first Plan currently in development:
The protocol below, drawn from a national model, covers:
• The respective roles and responsibilities of councillors and the clerk;
• Relationships between councillors and officers;
• Where/who the clerk should go to if they have concerns;
• Who is responsible for making decisions.
Dignity at Work
St Helens Parish Council will not tolerate bullying or harassment of any of its employees by elected members, other employees, contractors, visitors to the Parish Council or members of the public. The Parish Council is committed to the elimination of any form of intimidation in the workplace.
Occasionally, things go wrong and we would like the opportunity to put them right, if we can, as soon as possible. If you would like to make a comment about how the Council has, or has not, dealt with an issue, then you should follow the guidance set out below. Please see the Code of Conduct above, if you wish to make comment about a particular Councillor.
Comments or complaints about the performance of other public services may be received by this Council, and as we provide ‘advocacy’ on behalf of our community we can channel those comments to the most appropriate recipient. To ensure we receive the detail needed to judge how best to handle the matter, it should be received in writing.
Freedom of Information and Publication
The Information Commissioner provides guidance on how Parish Councils may make information available, in order that they can comply with freedom of information law. This Council has prepared a statutory Publication Scheme, which can be seen below. Notices will be deemed to be "published" if placed on this website and/or on the public notice board outside the Post Office, Upper Green Road.
Our Data Protection Policy
The Parish Council is registered with The Information Commissioner because we process personal information. Our registration number is ZA072123. We process data in accordance with the principles set out in the Data Protection Act, and in our Policy below. You can learn more here. The authorised Data Controller is the Clerk to the Council.
Our Equalities and Inclusion policy
The Council makes its services, activities and information available to as many people as possible, whilst recognising that everyone is different. The Council seeks to recognise and appreciate the value of diversity that exists in our community and society generally, aiming specifically to promote the inclusion of groups and individuals within our communities that are under-represented, disadvantaged or excluded.
Therefore, we will recognise and promote the importance of equality, diversity and human rights to ensure an inclusive approach in all that we do. Our policy statement is below:
Our Communications Protocol
The Council has set out how it will manage its written communications such as letters, emails and instructions. The Protocol is below:
Our Grants Policy
The Council welcomes applications for small grants which can support groups, organisations and individuals that make a contribution to our communities. The circumstances in which this may happen, and the procedure for applying is explained in our Policy Statement below: