Charter between City of York Council and York Local (Parish and Town) Councils


Dated: 18 November, 2021


The Objectives

1.        The main objectives of this Charter are to:

·        Set out how the parties aim to work together and to continue existing best practice

·        Continually review and establish improved ways of working

·        Confirm the principles of democratic local government

·        Continually review and improve the system of local democracy

·        Encourage greater public participation in the system

·        Promote sustainable social, economic and environmental development

·        Advance the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 including the Public Sector Equality Duty

·        Encourage the sharing of information and data to improve outcomes for residents


Local Governance

2.        City of York Council and the Local Councils are committed to the principles of democratic local government. They will continue efforts to improve the system of local democracy and to see greater participation in and appreciation of this system.

3.        City of York Council acknowledges and recognises that parish and town councils are the grass roots level of local government. By working with Local Councils, City of York Council aims to act in partnership with local communities, while balancing the needs of the wider locality.

4.        Local Councils offer a means of shaping the decisions that affect their communities. They offer a means of revitalising or sustaining local communities. In turn, Local Councils recognise the strategic role of the principal authority and the equitable distribution of services which it has to achieve.


5.        City of York Council will work with Local Councils to promote sustainable social, economic and environmental development in the area of the City of York.

6.        Arrangements for engagement of Local Councils in City of York Council’s governance arrangements and for liaison between councils will be as follows:

·        City of York Council will maintain its close working relationship with the York Branch of the Yorkshire Local Councils Association.

·        City of York Council will identify one of its officers to be responsible for the liaison work with Local Councils (the Liaison Officer – see Appendix 2). The Liaison Officer will report to Members on matters that are relevant to this charter.

·        Local Councils will invite, as appropriate, Members and Officers of City of York Council to their meetings giving adequate notice to facilitate attendance.

7.        In order to strengthen the relationship between Ward Members and Local Councillors, the agenda for Local Council meetings should include an item “To receive a report from a City of York councillor’’. This will enable a Ward Member to update the Local Council on events locally and provide an opportunity for questions to be raised.

8.        Ward members will make every effort to attend Local Council meetings at regular intervals.


9.        City of York Council will ensure that the Clerk of the relevant Local Council receives copies of any newsletters which it circulates in the parish of the Local Council and will ensure that the Clerk is sent an invitation to attend any public meeting organised by City of York Council in the parish.

10.    City of York Council and Local Councils will acknowledge and respond to correspondence between the respective organisations. Further to this, City of York Council will respond to communications in line with current customer care standards:

·        Written correspondence including electronic correspondence to City of York Council will be either acknowledged or responded to fully within 5 working days.  If information is not readily available the Local Council will be kept informed of progress at intervals not exceeding 5 working days until either a full response is available or there is no other solution.

·        For ongoing projects the Parish Council will receive a monthly update prior to the Parish Council meeting.  Should this not happen the matter should be referred to the Liaison Officer.

11.    Planning application consultations have their own period of time (currently twenty-one days) for Local Councils to respond. However, in recognition of Local Councils’ meeting schedules, planning officers will make every effort to accommodate Local Councils’ comments in a mutually agreeable timescale.

12.    In accordance with The Neighbourhood Plan (General) Regulations 2012, account will be taken of the Neighbourhood Plans adopted when determining planning applications within the identified Neighbourhood Plan areas.  Additionally planning officers will take into account Village Design Statements and Parish Plans except where these are in conflict with the Local Plan.

13.    Parish Councils will be given advance warning of any works to be taking place in the Parish.  This will include a copy of the highway works weekly bulletin being made available to Local Councils with respect to works being carried out within the parished area.  Where possible and applicable it will be useful for this to include details of proposed traffic diversions.

14.    City of York Council will create and maintain a directory of key contacts within the authority and make it available to Local Councils.


15.    City of York Council will aim to give Local Councils the opportunity to comment before making a decision which affects the local community. Specifically, City of York Council posts agendas of meetings and decision sessions on its website, giving five clear days’ notice. A facility is provided for Local Councils to receive electronic notifications of agendas and supporting papers.

16.    If consultation does not take place, a written explanation will be given on request to the Liaison Officer.

17.    To help achieve the objectives laid down in this Charter, liaison and consultation (both formal and informal) will be further developed at Local Council level through regular meetings or specific consultative groups and at officer level, individually or through working parties and groups, as resources permit.

18.    Local Councils will send, where possible electronically, a copy of the minutes of their meetings to the Liaison Officer at City of York Council. Copies of the agenda and minutes will also be sent to all City Ward Councillors elected for the respective area.

19.    Officers and Members of the City of York Council will be given an opportunity to speak at Local Council meetings on matters of mutual interest by prior arrangement and at the discretion of the Local Council.

Practical Support

20.    City of York Council will, at its discretion, offer Local Councils access to support services, to enable them to deal with planning applications and to take advantage of facilities such as professional services, specialist knowledge, printing and purchasing, at a mutually agreed price.

21.    The awareness needs for City of York Councillors and Officers to understand the roles and procedures for Local Councils will be carried out by Yorkshire Local Councils Association on behalf of Local Councils.

Standards Committee

22.    Both City of York Council and the Local Councils have adopted Codes of Conduct, with Local Councils adapting the model provided by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).  Local Councils will work with City of York Council’s Joint Standards Committee to promote and maintain high standards of ethical conduct. Three councillors from Local Councils, who are not city councillors, will be appointed to the Joint Standards Committee.  A Local Council Member must be present when ethical standards matters relating to Local Councils or their members are being considered.

Financial arrangements

23.    Elections – Where Local Council elections take place at the same time and venue as elections for City of York Council, the City Council will meet the full costs including any additional costs attributable solely to the Parish election. Financial arrangements for the carrying out of parish polls and the like will be made by City of York Council in consultation with the Local Councils with a view to limiting the costs of holding such events.

24.    Arrangements for remedy of “Double Taxation” – If a service is provided by the Local Council rather than City of York Council and City of York Council charges taxpayers in the parish for equivalent services which it provides elsewhere then this may be a case of Double Taxation.  City of York Council wants to ensure that residents of York do not have to pay twice for the same service. However, the existence of concurrent functions does not in itself mean that double taxation is occurring.  Any Local Council that believes a service that it is providing creates Double Taxation is invited to put the case for remedy to City of York Council.  A written proposal should be submitted in the first instance to the Head of Communities and Equalities for assessment and consideration.

25.    With regard to section 106 and infrastructure levy arrangements, Local Councils may apprise the Liaison Officer of their priorities and plans for improving or providing public amenities in the form of playing fields, children’s playgrounds, allotment facilities, village halls, toilets, shelters and the like, so that these priorities may be taken account of in the planning process.  Where City of York Council is holding unallocated section 106 funding Local Councils may submit requests, via the Liaison Officer, in order to facilitate appropriate qualifying projects.

Complaints Procedure

26.    In the event of a Local Council being dissatisfied with the actions of City of York Council, the Local Council shall use the City of York Council’s feedback and complaints procedure and, if the matter is unresolved, contact the Liaison Officer.

27.    In the event of City of York Council being dissatisfied with the actions of a Local Council then a letter should be sent to the Clerk of the individual Local Council requesting further information or a meeting to discuss the issue.

Implementation and Review

28.    Operation of the charter will be monitored through quarterly liaison meetings between City of York Council and representatives of the Yorkshire Local Councils Association.  These meetings will cover any issues arising regarding the relationship between the two parties.

29.    This Charter Agreement shall be revised as and when appropriate by agreement between the parties to ensure its effectiveness.  Formal review will take place at no longer than three yearly intervals.

30.    City of York Council staff will be briefed on their responsibilities as detailed in this Charter and such responsibilities will be included in the Induction programme for all staff.  Staff will be expected to comply with the charter at all times and this will be ensured through line management arrangements.


31.    To signify agreement of the parties to this Charter it was signed by:



Elected Member of City of York Council having responsibility for Community Engagement




as Chair of the York Branch of the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations




Appendix 1

The following are the Local (Parish and Town) Councils being parties to this agreement.

1.    Acaster Malbis

2.    Askham Bryan

3.    Askham Richard

4.    Bishopthorpe

5.    Clifton Without

6.    Copmanthorpe

7.    Deighton

8.    Dunnington

9.    Earswick

10.  Elvington

11. Fulford

12. Haxby Town Council

13. Heslington

14. Hessay

15. Heworth Without

16. Holtby

17. Huntington

18. Kexby

19. Murton

20. Naburn

21. Nether Poppleton

22. New Earswick

23. Osbaldwick

24. Rawcliffe

25. Rufforth with Knapton

26. Skelton

27. Stockton-on-the-Forest

28. Strensall with Towthorpe

29. Upper Poppleton

30. Wheldrake

31. Wigginton


Appendix 2

The City of York Council Liaison Officer is:  Assistant Director (Customer and Communities)