Parish and town councils

Find out about parish and town councils, including how to contact your parish clerk.

Parish or town councils are the most local level of government in England. They are independent of other levels of local government, however they maintain a close working relationship with us. 

There are 731 parishes in North Yorkshire. Some parish councils in our county are known as town or city councils, but have the same role as a parish council.

Not all parishes have a parish council. Some smaller ones only have parish meetings. Other small parishes may work together with neighbouring parishes to run a grouped, joint or common parish council.

Parish Charter

You can find out how local city, town and parish councils and meetings work together with North Yorkshire Council in the Parish Charter.

Parish clerk information

Your first point of contact at a parish council should be your parish clerk. You can find contact information for parish clerks on our edemocracy website.

Open parish clerk information

What do parish councils do?

The services provided by parish councils vary depending on how large and how active the councils are. Some do not meet very often, and are not very active. Other larger parish councils carry out many duties such as street lighting, managing cemeteries, allotments, commons, village halls, war memorials and markets.

Councillors are usually elected every four years. They are not paid, although they may claim expenses, and they must behave in accordance with their code of conduct for members. Each parish council may have its own code of conduct which you can consult either on the parish council website for your area, or by contacting the parish clerk.

The code of conduct sets out the requirements for Parish councillors to register their interests in the register of members’ interests and declare their interests at parish council meetings.

Registers of Members’ Interests for parish and town councils in North Yorkshire are published online.

Further information regarding councillor conduct is available.

Complaints that a parish or town councillor may have breached their council’s code of conduct for members

Complaints that a member/voting co-opted member of a parish or town council within North Yorkshire may have breached their authority’s code of conduct must, by law, be made in writing, preferably using the  complaint form here (docx / 42 KB) . (docx / 42 KB)

The Assistant Chief Executive Legal and Democratic Services and Monitoring Officer
North Yorkshire Council
County Hall,
North Yorkshire

Tel: 01609 532173

Using the complaint form will guide you through giving the information expected by the Monitoring Officer to enable a full consideration of your complaint.

Please ensure you are referencing the relevant Code of Conduct in making your complaint.

Further information regarding the handling of complaints of a breach of the code of conduct, including the standards complaints procedure and jurisdiction and assessment criteria is available.

If you have a complaint about a parish/town council or one of its councillors which does not involve an alleged breach of that council’s code of conduct, then please submit your complaint to the clerk of the relevant parish/town council. Parish and town councils are separate legal entities, responsible for their own general governance.

North Yorkshire Council has no jurisdiction to consider other complaints about them, for example about the way in which the parish/town council has or has not done something, or about particular parish/town council decisions or employees or information governance matters.

Parish council documents

Most parish council documents can be found by visiting your parish council website.

You can view documents for the following parish councils in our parish council document library:

  • Barton
  • Birdsall
  • Brompton on Swale
  • Brough with St Giles
  • Byland with Wass and Oldstead
  • Croft-on-Tees
  • Eppleby
  • Hunsingore, Walshford and Cattal
  • Hudswell
  • Melmerby and Middleton Quernhow
  • Muker
  • Nunnington
  • Scagglethorpe
  • Stanwick St John
  • Stapleton and Cleasby
  • St Martins
  • Warthill
  • Wintringham