Hertfordshire has 102 parish councils, 11 town councils, 1 community council and 10 parish meetings.

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They vary in size – a large town council can cover 35,000 people and provide a wide range of services. A small parish might only have 100 people and provide a small number of services.

They look after things like:

  • allotments
  • village halls
  • cemeteries and closed churchyards.

They have to be consulted on local planning matters.

What's the difference?

Town councils have a mayor whereas parish councils have a chairman.

The laws governing town councils are the same as for parish councils.

They can be responsible for services, including leisure facilities, parks, supporting museums, running tourist information centres, parks, village halls and allotments.

All town councils must hold an annual public meeting where the residents can question them.

Parish councils have a chairman instead of a mayor (like town councils have).

They're governed by the same rules as town councils. 

A typical parish council will maintain their village hall, the parish churchyard, provide allotments and will comment on planning applications affecting the parish.

Parish councils often don't have a permanent office or full-time staff. They might meet in the local village hall or school.

All parish councils must hold an annual public meeting where the residents can question them.

Some of the smaller parishes share a council with another parish.

Some of the smallest parishes don't have a parish council. Instead, they have a 'Parish Meeting'. Everyone in the parish can take part.

A Parish Meeting is a legally recognised form of local government for very small parishes.

A Parish Meeting elects a chairman and a clerk. They are legally responsible for all decisions by the Parish Meeting.


Hertfordshire Association of Parish and Town Councils provides advice and training to parish, town and community councils in Hertfordshire.

Shared Statement of Partnership Principles aims to set out principles
for how the 124 Parish, Town and Community Councils of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council can work together for the benefit of the communities that they jointly serve.

Appendix - How we can work together outlines various ways in which Parish, Town and Community Councils can work together in practice with specific County Council services in the interests of their local area.