The aim of the Local Council Charter is to support the development of a mutually beneficial working relationship between Durham County Council and local councils by setting out the respective rights, roles, responsibilities of each and the expectations that they may have of each other.
The following is a brief summary of the provisions contained in the Charter.
Community Strategy and the Local Strategic Partnership
- Supports representation, communications and involvement in community planning for local councils.
- Ensures arrangements for representation to Area Action Partnerships and supports good working relationships.
- Ensures effective liaison between elected members and officers of local councils and Durham County Council.
Local Community Life
- Supports full parishing and the development of new councils.
- Encourages local projects and parish plans.
Consultation and Engagement
- Requires DCC to consult local councils, within appropriate timescales on issues affecting their area and to have regard to views and give timely feedback.
- Encourages consultation between other partners and local councils.
- Encourages all councils to work together to seek views of local residents.
Information, Communication and Customer Feedback
- Sets out clear arrangements to improve communications and effective sharing of information between councils, including better use of Information Technology.
- Gives clear timescales for councils to respond to each others requests for information and to complaints / enquiries.
- Sets out a protocol in respect of licensing information.
- Encourages continued support for and the use of the County Durham Association of Local Councils (CDALC) and other support mechanisms.
- States that DCC will offer access to appropriate support services on request at a mutually agreed price.
- Supports and encourages training and development opportunities for local councillors and clerks through CDALC and the County Training Partnership.
- Supports uptake of Quality Parish and Town Council Scheme.
Standards and Ethics
- States that all councils will follow Code of Conduct and that local councils will work with DCC Standards Committee to promote and maintain high standards.
- Acknowledges all local councils as statutory consultees in the planning process.
- Sets out a protocol which includes commitment to training, the relationship with local councils and consultation and representation arrangements.
- Commits to the development of fair and transparent process which will enable local councils to bid for delivery of appropriate services.
- Sets out principles of equity, transparency, accountability and finance following function.
- States that DCC will consult local councils on budget proposals and changes to service provision.
- Encourages councils to work together to ensure a fair and equitable approach to the funding of services.
A full copy of the Local Councils Charter is below.