Stocksfield Parish Council has twelve councillors who are either elected or co-opted onto the council, and who work closely with the Parish Council's Clerk. The next elections are to be held in 2017.
The full Parish Council meets monthly except August when no meeting takes place. The minutes of each meeting are published on the website, at first in draft until they are approved at the subsequent meeting. An Annual Parish Meeting has traditionally been held so that local residents can find out more about what the Parish Council has been doing and how it has spent its budget to benefit the community. From 2017 the Annual Parish Meeting has been held immediately before the Parish Council's meeting in May (which is somewhat confusingly referred to as the Parish Council's Annual Meeting). This is a different meeting to the Annual Parish Meeting and is when the Chair is elected.
There are five Advisory Groups whose role is to support the Parish Council by considering in detail a range of matters relating to their remit and making recommendations as to the course of action which the Parish Council should take. Membership of the General Governance, Planning and Communications Advisory Groups is entirely drawn from members of the Parish Council. Membership of the Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group is drawn from the local community and representatives of countywide organisations, along with two Parish Councillors, one of whom acts as Chair of the Group. Along with members of the Parish Council, the newly formed Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group also includes representatives of the community and other relevant organisations. The chair of each group is responsible for bringing relevant issues discussed by the Group to the attention of the Parish Council, including any recommendations for action by the Council.
Parish Council representatives on outside bodies are responsible for ensuring that the Parish Council is fully informed of relevant issues discussed at meetings of these bodies.
The Advisory Groups are listed below, for more detail on each group and the role of the Parish Council Clerk, click on the heading below. A document describing the Advisory Groups is available on the Policy Documents page
General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)
Membership of the Group consists of:
- The Chair of the Parish Council
- Three other Parish Councillors
All Parish Councillors are welcome to attend meetings of the GGAG.
The Group meets once a month, usually on the middle Monday of the month between Parish Council meetings.
The Group has overall responsibility for:
- Monitoring of the Parish Council's financial affairs, insurance cover and annual audit procedures
- Considering criteria for granting funds to other organisations
- Setting budgets and the precept at appropriate times, in conjunction with the Parish Council Clerk
Parish Council administration, including:
- Employment of the Parish Council Clerk
- Review of Standing Orders and Parish Council Policies
- Drawing up new policies as appropriate
- Monitoring and review of Parish Plan
Sports and Play Facilities
- Management of sports fields and play areas
- Receiving accounts from the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) Management Group
- Liaising with sports field users through the Sports Fields User Group (click here for terms of reference of the User Group)
Transport & Highways matters
From time to time as appropriate:
- Setting up Working Groups to respond to consultations – membership of these Groups will be restricted to Parish Councillors
- Setting up Working Groups to consider and make recommendations on the development of specific projects
- Setting up other Working Groups as appropriate
The membership of Working Groups will always include Parish Councillors and the Groups will be led by a Parish Councillor. Membership of the Groups may also be drawn from interested residents. Working Groups will exist for short periods only and their remit will be strictly defined by the GGAG.
Planning Advisory Group
Membership of the Group consists of no less than three Parish Councillors.
The Group meets as necessary.
The Group has overall responsibility for:
- considering in detail all local planning applications and making recommendations to the Parish Council about the appropriate response
- drawing up responses to consultations about planning matters, for approval by the Parish Council
- co-ordinating engagement with Northumberland County Council and developers in respect of Pre-Application and Section 106 processes in accordance with the established protocol
- drawing up other policies relating to planning issues as appropriate
Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group
The Chair of the Group is always a member of the Parish Council. In addition to the Chair, at least one other member of the Parish Council will be a member of the Group, which is therefore made up of two or more Parish Councillors, local volunteers and a number of officers from the County Council and other countywide organisations. The Group meets three or more times a year.
This Group will:
- monitor issues relating to the environment in general and raise matters of concern with the Parish Council
- in liaison with the County Countryside Officer, monitor the condition of the footpaths, bridleways and rights of way within the parish, and agree any action required for their maintenance with the Countryside Officer
- in liaison with the County Footpaths officer and Allendale Estates, monitor the condition of the footpaths, bridleways and rights of way within the Community Woodland, and agree any action required for their maintenance with the Countryside officer and Allendale Estatea
- in liaison with the Tyne Rivers Trust, monitor the health of the Stocksfield burn, including electro-fishing
- in liaison with the Tyne Rivers Trust, monitor and attempt to eradicate Himalayan Balsam and other alien invasive plant species where they occur in the Parish
- develop and monitor the planting in the agreed areas around the station car park, but not including any areas near to the railway line
Communications Advisory Group
Membership of the Group consists of the Parish Council Clerk and at least two Parish Councillors.
The Group meets periodically, as required.
The Group has overall responsibility for:
- editorial control of NE43 News, the Parish Council’s quarterly newsletter
- monitoring the quality and content of the Parish Council’s website
- producing the Parish Information Card every four years
- producing other Parish Council publications agreed by Council members
Climate Change Emergency Advisory Group
The Chair of the Group is the Council’s Climate Change Emergency Lead Councillor. In addition to the Chair, at least two other members of the Parish Council will be members of the Group. Other local residents and representatives of appropriate local groups, organisations or other local authorities may also be appointed to the Group.
The Group will:
- Recommend Climate Change policies for Council approval
- Provide an Action Plan for approval
- Monitor issues relating to the environment in general and raise matters of concern with the Parish Council and liaise where necessary with the Parish Council Advisory Groups
- Recommend policy and projects for approval of the Parish Council,
- Comment on applications received for grants linked to the Climate Emergency
- Apply for grants and funding associated with the Climate Emergency for the benefit of the Parish and its constituents
- Promote schemes within the Parish Council’s area relating to the climate emergency
- Use the Parish web page, social media, press, leaflets, NE43, notice boards, information centres, surveys to promote schemes, and harvest information that will benefit the Parish
- Inform residents, businesses, organisations, charities, and Trusts of any schemes and initiatives that the Group becomes aware that will benefit the people of Stocksfield
- Help where it is able within its legal remit to reduce fuel poverty of residents within the Parish
- Implement Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in actions and recommendations
The Parish Council Clerk
The council employs a clerk who performs the roles of ‘Proper Officer’ and ‘Responsible Financial Officer’. The clerk is based at the Parish Council Office, situated within Stocksfield Community Centre, and is responsible for ensuring appropriate action is taken in respect of all decisions of the council. Residents can raise issues of concern with the clerk who will take appropriate action, where the issue is a responsibility of the council, or refer the matter to an alternative appropriate body. The clerk is also responsible for supervising the council’s contract with its grounds maintenance provider.