What your Council does

A guide to what Hatfield Town Council can and can't do as a local council: 

What Your Council Does Do

The main activities of your Town Council are outlined below, though this list is by no means exhaustive:


  • Holds monthly Full Council meetings, plus regular meetings of internal committees

  • Represents the Council and the interests of the residents in the Town Council’s area at external meetings and events and sits on other relevant local bodies

  • Makes representations on planning matters, the Local Development Framework, and any other matters related to the development and upkeep of the Town Council area on your behalf to Doncaster Council

  • Employs a trained and experienced Town Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to oversee the council's administration with the help of the Assistant Town Clerk

  • Employs staff to ensure the upkeep of public areas and assets owned by the Town Council, such as the Cemetery, and the 9 recreation grounds

  • Employs a Cemetery Supervisor to arrange burials and ensure the efficient running of the Cemetery

  • Raises money from the precept to enable effective delivery of these services to residents and make further improvements to facilities within the local community

  • Listens to residents’ concerns and assists when able

  • Keeps residents up to date with regular newsletter the Hatfield Herald (now incorporated in the Thorne Times) and with information supplied on the Town Council’s noticeboards, website and Facebook page.

  • Makes representations on consultation papers from Central Government and other bodies

  • Lobbies Doncaster Council and other organisations on matters of concern to residents

  • Act as Trustees in running of the Town Council Charities and of the Hatfield and Dunscroft Miners Welfare

  • Provides litter and dog bins and benches on recreation grounds.

  • Provides funding to local groups and projects through Section 137 funding

  • Manages and maintains recreation spaces, floral displays and play equipment

     

  • What Your Council Must Do

     

    There are actually very few duties of the council (what the council must do) set out in law. The most important duties are as follows:

The council MUST hold at least three meetings a year in addition to the Annual Town Council meeting

  • The council MUST elect a Chair (or Mayor) but there is no duty to elect a Deputy Chair or Mayor

  • The council has a legal duty to keep a record of its meetings in the form of minutes

  • There are certain other procedures which the council has a duty to follow in relation to meeting procedures, such as advertising meetings to the public

  • The council has a duty to consider providing allotments if at least six members of the electorate requests that it does so

  • The council MUST appoint a ‘Proper Officer’/ Responsible Financial Officer

    What Your Council Can Do

     Whilst the council has only a few duties, Acts of Parliament provide the council with a wide range of powers (what the council can do but does not have to do). Councils are under no obligation to use all of their powers, and many do not, often for practical or financial reasons. Some of the main powers available to the council are summarised below:


  • Power to raise money through the precept to provide services to the town. The amount raised is uncapped, but councils do try to keep spending within a reasonable level. (The precept is a proportion of residents’ Council Tax which is used to fund the Town Council)

  • Power to provide grants to community projects and organisations through Section 137 of their precept budget, though the amount the Town Council can allocate is limited by law.

  • Power to provide and maintain bus shelters, allotments, CCTV, places of entertainment, recreational facilities, War Memorials, mortuaries and burial grounds, bins and street furniture and buildings for public use

  • Power to repair and maintain a footpath

  • Power to buy and manage land

  • Power to provide parking places and cycle racks

  • Eligible councils can now use the 'General Power of Competence' which enables a local authority to 'do anything it considers likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area.'

     

What Your Council Can’t Do


Town Councils cannot do anything that is not outlined in the Local Government Act 1972, or any other relevant Act of Parliament. If the council attempts to act outside of the remit of these acts it is acting 'ultra vires', that is 'outside its powers'.


Much of the responsibility for the area, such as highways, planning, street cleansing and street lighting lies with the principal authority, in our case Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council. The Town Council can lobby the principal authority to carry out works or provide facilities, but has no power to force them to do so.