Llanwddyn Community Council
Llanwddyn Community Council is a council actively involved in the community offering support, advice and help where it is needed. Llanwddyn Village is split over two locations set in the Vyrnwy Valley with a population of approximately 193 registered voters (as at 2015). The council area also includes Lake Vyrnwy.
The Community Council
The Community Council is a formally elected tier of local government. It is a ‘corporate body’ with a legal existence of its own quite separate from that of its members; its decisions are the responsibility of the whole body. The Community Council has been granted powers by the National Assembly for Wales, including the right to raise money through taxation (the precept) and a range of powers to spend that public money.
Community Councils are governed by a national Code of Conduct and breaches can be referred to the County Ethics and Standards Committee which has powers to suspend Councillors. Any decisions taken by a Community Council needs to have a majority vote and should be preceded by ‘the proposition’ being accepted (seconded), made public for public input and debated before the decision is taken. A decision cannot be changed for 6 months though a Councillor can propose rescinding it and if supported such can occur.
The job of a Community Council is to represent the interests of the whole community – and to represent the interests of different parts of the community equally. In order to gain the trust of the Community they serve, Community Councils need to be objective and transparent, particularly over financial matters. This is sometimes difficult as inevitably Community Councils have to take difficult and contentious decisions on behalf of their Communities. To best understand local concerns etc. Councillors need to engage with their constituents but equally their constituents need to engage with Councillors; engagement in the democratic process by all is important to helping make the best decisions, fairly.
The Llanwddyn Community Council is made up of seven volunteers who are required to sign a formal ‘declaration of office’ on appointment. They should be elected every 4 years but if the Council has less than seven members volunteers from the Community can be co-opted onto the Council.
The most critical decisions/actions that the Llanwddyn Community Council has to make are:
- To set the annual budget including any donations to Community projects or organisations. This is introduced in October, proposed in November, with a decision including the precept for the following year in December. The decision is then sent to Powys County Council for inclusion in the Community Charge.
- To make and agree the obligatory Financial Risk Assessment including Public Liability insurance – introduced in February for decision in March.
- To agree the End of Financial Year Accounts – introduced in April after internal audit, and agreed in May. These are then subject to an external audit.
- To hold an AGM in May to elect the Chair and Vice Chair and to appoint any representatives. An election is held every 4 years at the same time as the County Council elections, the next being 2017.
- To review any planning applications to ensure they contribute positively to the Community at large.
- To interface with Powys County Council (PCC) on any matter that is within the remit of PCC and on which the Community has concerns.
The Council is supported by one part time (12 hours a month) Clerk. The Clerk is the Proper Officer of the Council and as such is under a statutory duty to carry out all the functions, and in particular to serve or issue all the notifications required by law of a local authority’s Proper Officer. The Clerk is responsible for ensuring that the instructions of the Council are carried out, assists in the formulation of policy and provides the necessary information to make and implement effective decisions. The Clerk manages all property and resources and is appointed the Responsible Financial Officer for all financial records and their administration. The Clerk is responsible for all correspondence and for constructing, normally with the Chair, the agenda and for writing the minutes of every formal meeting.