Apart from the legal framework, the Chairman of the Parish Council is, in many communities, viewed as the public face of the organisation, a community leader, an elder statesman. People turn to me for advice and support in matters completely unrelated to the work of the Parish Council. I chair many public meetings, sometimes under the auspices of the Parish Council, occasionally just a meeting of the community to discuss a particular issue. Every community faces challenges and opportunities and it is vital that we come together to understand the consensus viewpoint.
Like any committed councillor, I also represent the council at meetings and consultations on matters related to the work of the council, negotiating to protect vital amenities and financial support from district and county, the police etc, lobbying for additional support and resources, highway improvements and the like.
Much of this work takes place quietly behind the scenes and can take up a significant part of my week, but it is invisible to the community. We trumpet the occasional success, but we rarely talk about the countless hours of getting nowhere.
When I agreed to become Chairman, I didn't realise how many hours I would have to devote to meetings regarding sewage pumping!