Bramham cum Oglethorpe Parish Council has legal authority, established under the Local Government Act 1972 and other legislation, to administer affairs within its parish. Following the enactment of the Localism Act 2011 the Parish Council determined to prepare a Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) and to include a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) which is an enabling statutory document. This SCI is prepared specifically with the NDP in mind and is not designed to cover other aspects of the Parish Council’s operations
The Parish Council consists of “Elected Members” who are guided by the Clerk to the Council on financial and legal matters. While in law the Parish Council is responsible for all decisions unless otherwise delegated, the decision to seek advice and commit or restrict certain avenues of engagement due to circumstances, which is believed to be in the interests of the community, shall be at their discretion.
The OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE SCI
1. To enhance and promote an inclusive society by engaging and consulting with residents, businesses and groups prior to and when making decisions concerning the Neighbourhood Development Plan which affect the economy, environment and social well–being of the parish.
2. To ensure that the views and concerns of residents are given due consideration throughout the process of producing a NDP and to engage and represent residents in communicating with our Member of Parliament, Leeds City Council through elected ward members and officers of that authority.
3. To engage with all other stakeholders including statutory and other service providers with a view to encouraging investment and to ensure best practice is afforded to those living and working in the parish.
4. To use every means available to ensure all residents are given the opportunity to comment on all issues and to demonstrate a commitment to consult with the community at large.
The Parish Council is party to the adopted Town & Parish Council Charter and supplementary Planning Charter. The SCI builds on the principles contained in these documents but is NOT subservient to them.
Third parties are encouraged to seek to engage with the Parish Council where matters are deemed to be in the interest of or affecting the parish of Bramham cum Oglethorpe.
PARISH COUNCIL ENGAGEMENT WITH PARISHIONERS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
– The Parish Council comprises members elected under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and Local Government Act 1972. The Clerk or the Chairman to the Parish Council are the primary contacts, however individual Councillors may be contacted directly during reasonable times of the day. This can be done by appointment, email or telephone and contact details are listed on the Parish Council web site –www.thisisbramham.co.uk.
– The Parish Council normally holds monthly meetings, usually on the first Wednesday of every month, except August. Other extraordinary meetings may take place and such meetings are advertised on the parish notice boards and the Parish Council website. All meetings can be attended by the public and only when confidential matters are included on the agenda is exclusion of the press and public permitted under standing orders.
– All Parish Council meetings are opened with an open forum which allows parishioners to raise matters of concern although they are not permitted to speak during the Parish Council Meeting.
– During the lifetime of the Neighbourhood Development Plan production process, the NDP will be a standing agenda item so that the full Parish Council may receive updates on progress from the representatives of the NDP Management Group and input to the future strategic direction of the work in hand.
– The Parish Council provides up to date information and minutes of meetings on the website. www.thisisbramham.co.uk or on the notice board at the Senior Citizens Centre.
– The Council publishes an update in the Bramham Parish News on a periodic basis which is distributed to every property in the parish.
– When significant issues arise, the Council will distribute notices to every property and in the case of a public meeting notification of the date, time and venue.
– Elected members of the Parish Council attend meetings of clubs, social and other groups, including the local primary school and churches when requested to do so and support galas and other events in the community so as to freely engage with anyone seeking help or advice.
– On such occasions as in the preparation of the Conservation Area Management Plan, Parish Plan, Village Design Statement or Neighbourhood Development Plan, public meetings and workshops will be held. Information may be displayed in the mobile library, shop, doctors’ surgeries, village hall and any place where meetings may be held in addition to notice boards, web site and local distribution to ensure that all residents are informed of any proposals. The Parish Council will ensure participation of the community during and prior to their adoption.
In the development of these plans volunteers who may form a steering or working group should have considerable input as it is very important that the views and ideas of those living and working in the parish are reflected in the final appraisal and documentation.
OPERATION OF THE NDP MANAGEMENT GROUP
– The Management Group established to drive forward the NDP have produced Terms of Reference which have been approved by the Parish Council. The Management Group will meet in public on a monthly basis through the production process of the NDP with all meetings advertised on website and noticeboards and open to the public to attend. The public will be allowed to contribute to meetings in an open session at the end of each meeting.
– Minutes, agendas and background papers will be published on the Parish Council website.
– Members of the Management Group will be guided by the agreed Terms of Reference and will produce and update on a regular basis a Register of Members Interest, maintained by the Management Group’s secretariat & available to the public on request.
– Throughout the process of producing the NDP, every effort will be made to ensure that consultation, communication and engagement with parishioners and other interested parties is as open and accessible as is practicable. In particular:
– Newsletters produced will be distributed to every property in the parish.
– Questionnaires and surveys will be developed which enable every interested
party to have their say over issues of concern to them with regard to the NDP
and the sustainable future of the parish.
– All information produced by the Group, including minutes and surveys, will be written in plain English and proofed for ‘readability’ so as to be as accessible as is practicable.
– Wherever requested to do so, the Group will produce information to respond to the particular needs of parishioners; for example, translated, large print, braille.
The work of the Group in this regard will be guided by a Communications sub group which will act to ensure that all efforts in relation to communication, consultation and engagement follow best practice, are monitored and reviewed to ensure the process is successful in its ambitions to be as inclusive and open as possible.
FUTURE REVIEWS OF THE SCI
The SCI is now a formal document adopted by the Parish Council and will be reviewed periodically throughout the period of producing the NDP. It is anticipated that a review of the document should occur at the end of this process with a view to producing a generic SCI to guide all future activity of the Parish Council in relation to communication, consultation and engagement with parishioners.
To follow the Parish Council’s complaints procedure contact in the first instance
should be made with the Clerk to the Council.