General Power Of Competence

Local Councils in England were given a General Power of Competence (GPC) in the Localism Act 2011, Sections 1-8. This means that Councils, once adopting the power, no longer need to ask whether they have a specific power to act. The General Power of Competence Localism Act 2011 S1 (1) gives Local Authorities including Parish Councils “the power to do anything that individuals generally may do as long as they do not break any other laws”. It is a power of first resort. This means that when searching for a power to act, the first question to ask is whether you can use the General Power of Competence. To find the answer, you ask whether an individual is normally permitted to act in the same way.

Sometimes a Council can do things that an individual can’t do such as creating bylaws, raising a precept or issuing fixed penalty notices but it must do so using the specific original legislation. The General Power of Competence does not mean the Council can delegate decisions to individual Councillors. This is a procedural matter that remains enshrined in law.

Trawden Forest Parish Council re-adopted the General Power of Competence at its Annual Parish Council meeting on 15th May 2023 and meets the criteria for eligibility as follows:

  • the number of Councillors elected at the last ordinary election, or at a subsequent by-election, equals or exceeds two thirds of its total number of Councillors.
  • the Parish Clerk has completed CiLCA 2021 (a sector specific qualification) and her submitted portfolio has passed examination.

May 2023

April 2016

Parish Council Constitution



Trawden Forest Parish Council consists of ten councillors elected every four years. Pendle Borough Council maintains the Register of Electors. The Parish has 2 electoral wards:  Winewall Ward elects 4 councillors and Trawden Ward elects 6 councillors.

Trawden Parish Council's vision is "to ensure Trawden continues to be a vibrant semi-rural village with a strong community spirit, where everybody matters. The aim is for Trawden to be a prosperous, safe and attractive place in which to live and work for the present generation and for generations to come".

The purpose of the Council is to work within its statutory powers to maintain and enhance the village's public amenities, and to help the people of Trawden to improve their quality of life, in accordance with the Council's vision, and to work in partnership with Pendle Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.

The Council will exercise all its powers and duties in accordance with the law and this Constitution, and utilise its budget to achieve the greatest good for the community.

Councillors agree to follow the Code of Conduct, which until 2012 was overseen by the Standards Board for England.

The Council's administrative affairs are dealt with by the Parish Clerk who is a part-time employee of the Parish Council, and will normally fulfil the role of Responsible Financial Officer.

The Council meets in public on the first Monday of each month (excluding August) in the Village Community Centre except when this is a Bank Holiday, when alternative arrangements are made. 

Four members constitute a Quorum. 

Minutes of Council meetings are published on the parish notice board and website no later than 2 weeks following each meeting.

Voting at meetings is by a show of hands.  In the case of a split vote the Chairman has the casting vote.

Election to the Council will be by ballot of the electorate of the parish.

Where insufficient Councillors have been elected by ballot the Council may nominate at its discretion individuals for co-option to the Council so long as the total number of co-opted members does not exceed the number of elected members.

A person shall cease to be a member of the Council when having notified the Chairman in writing of their wish to resign.

The Council’s budget for the following financial year will be finalised no later than the February meeting prior to the start of that financial year.

At the Annual General Meeting held in May each year they will elect from their number a Chairman and Vice Chairman to serve for the ensuing twelve months.

The Council operates a freedom of information policy and publishes its agendas and minutes on the parish notice board and website. Any member of the public can inspect Council papers and attend Council or committee meetings. They may also inspect the Council's accounts and make their views known to the external auditor.

The Constitution may be altered and additional clauses added by a resolution passed by not less than two thirds of the Council present.

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