A Parish Council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the Parish. It is the level government closest to the community, with the district authority (St Helens MBC) above it in the hierarchy.
As it is the authority closest to the people, Parish Councils are invariably the first-place people go to with concerns or ideas. For this reason, they are a vital part of any community.
What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish Councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community. Probably the most common topics that Parish Councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention and campaigning for and delivering better community services and facilities.
On their own, Parish Councils have limited powers to make decisions. However, they do have the ability to negotiate with and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the Borough Council, Health Authorities, Police etc).
In this respect Parish Councils can be extremely powerful. The organisations that make the final decisions know that a Parish Council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and that its views should be taken seriously.
In Rainford, the Parish Council is also responsible for the upkeep and management of the Village Hall.