Committees & Working Groups

Role of Committees

The Parish Council has a main council committee.  That can delegate some of its statutory functions (responsibilities assigned to a parish council in legislation) to one or more committees.  These may in turn have sub-committees.  If there’s a specific task focussed activity then Working Groups may be setup.

Parish Council meetings are led by the Council’s (or committee) Chair (see ‘Role of a Chair‘ for details of wat they do) and advised by a Clerk who is there to see that business is conducted within the law on how parish councils are run.

The key difference is that a Committee (or sub-committee) comprises members of the council whilst a Working Group can include other individuals.  Any committee/sub-committee must hold regular open sessions, at which members of the public can speak.

Unlike Committees and Sub-Committees, Working Groups cannot have delegated responsibilities and do not have to be open to the public, however, they do have to abide by certain Parish Council Policies – See Working Group Protocol.  Their findings and recommendations must be minuted and a report submitted to the Committee to whom the council has decided they report.  These reports are then discussed at Committee level before being recommended to Main Council.  The Council or the Committee can send report back to the Sub-Committee / Working Group requesting more information or clarification before accepting or rejecting the report and its contents.

When are Committees held?

There’s a published schedule of meetings, these are usually advertised by the Council’s communications lead (Cllr Cornell) on village Facebook groups eg Downton Parish Council, Downton Now & Then, Downton Families.

Attending a Committee / Working Group

All committee/sub-committee meetings are open to the public and there is a forum before the start of the meeting at which members of the public can raise concerns and ask questions.  There is also an annual meeting which all parishioners are invited to attend.  All meetings are advertised on the council notice boards [ Withdrawn during Covid ], on the web site and typically on village social media groups.  Residents can bring to the attention of the parish council anything that concerns them, either directly or though the clerk.  If matters raised are not the responsibility of the council, the clerk can bring them to the attention of the proper authority.

Representation on Parish Council Committees and Working Groups

All Councillors are required to attend the Main Council meetings.  They may also work on other sub-committees and working groups – see table below.  Representation is proposed and voted on at the annual meeting – the latest one being May 2020.  In March 2021 a Chair and Vice Chair were appointed for the last two months of the council year.  Working Groups may involve members of the public.  All Terms of Reference for all committees and working groups are published in a single pdf document.  This is approved by the full Council at its annual meeting – the latest one being May 2020.

Committee / Working Group Title (Grouped by their parent Committee)JB BCCHSJIJDMMRPRGW
Main Council CommitteeCMMMMVCMMM
    Caring Community Working Group MM
    Communications Working GroupMMM
Amenities CommitteeMMMC
    Bridge Working GroupLM
    Moot Lane Recreation Working GroupMMMM
    Rights of Way Working GroupMM
Complaints CommitteeMMM
Finance & Strategy CommitteeMMM
New Housing Development CommitteeMMMM
    Neighbourhood Plan Review Working GroupMMMM
Staffing CommitteeM
Water Meadows and Flood Defence CommitteeMMM
Number of Committees / Working Groups
(Excluding Main Council Ctee)

Key: C = Chair, C/VC = Chair/ Vice Chair, L = Lead Councillor on working group (could also be formal Chair), M = Member, XOM = chair of Amenities Ctee is ex-officio member.  Note the Parish Council Chair and Vice-Chair are ex-officio members of all committees and Working Groups – these are not shown in the table above.

Representation on External Organisations

Councillors represent Downton Parish Council on various local external organisations.  These are shown in the table below.  Note the Number of Councillors column shows the number appointed versus the number allowed on the external organisation.  T = Appointed trustee of charity and also Parish Council representative – included in row/column totals.  t = Appointed trustee of charity only – not included in row/column totals.

External Organisation NameJB BCCHSJIJDMMRPRGWNumber of Councillors
Brian Whitehead Sports & Social Club Assoc. >charity details
>Company details
112 / 2
Carver Trust.  >charity details
11 / 1
Downton Cuckoo Fair.  >web site >company details11 / 1
Downton Football Club Steering Group1
Downton Link.  >web site.   >charity details11 / 1
Downton Moot Preservation Trust
>web site >charity details >company details
11`2 / 2
Downton Memorial Hall / Centre
>web site >charity details #1 / details #2
11 / 1
Downton Memorial Centre Fire Safety ‘Responsible Person’11
Millennium Green Trust.  >charity details112 / 2
Stockman and Woodlands Trust  >charity details112 / 2
Allotments Assoc.  >web-site11 / 1
South Wilts Area Board - Main Group.  >info112 / 2
South Wilts Area Board - Community Area Transport Group.  >info11 / 1
Chalk Pit Management Committee - joint committee with Redlynch PC that meets every 2 years in September - see Area Board Meeting 5th April 2012 - Item 7 and Main Council Minutes 9th Sept 2019.11/2
Number of Working Groups323200315N/A