What is a town or parish council?

A parish or town council operates in a parish area and is the first level of local government. A town council has the same powers as a parish council but is for parishes with a larger population.

View North Norfolk's parishes and their area boundaries.

Each parish area operates within three tiers of local government. Town and parish councils are the first levels of local government. The next level is the district council, North Norfolk District Council. Finally, the highest level is at the county level, Norfolk County Council. 

What powers do town and parish councils have?

Each local government level has a different role and is responsible for various services and areas.

Parish councils

Give views on behalf of the local community regarding planning applications and other proposals that affect the parish and its residents.

They are generally responsible for the following areas:

  • community safety
  • allotments
  • cemeteries
  • playing fields
  • community centres 
  • seats and shelters

They also do the following:

  • take on projects and schemes at a local level for the benefit of parish residents
  • alert the relevant authorities to problems that arise or work that needs doing
  • provide information services to help residents keep in touch with their local communities and act as a liaison between residents and the district and county councils.

District councils

Are responsible for the following:

  • local services such as rubbish collection, business and consumer
  • environmental protection (sustainability, water, land and air safety
  • licensing 
  • noise complaints, animal complaints, licensing and fly tipping 
  • planning applications
  • leisure facilities, such as sports centres and swimming facilities
  • coastal management, flood defences, erosion prevention and public beach safety.
  • country parks and green spaces
  • economic development
  • emergency housing and homelessness prevention
  • benefits
  • council tax

County councils

Are responsible for the following:

  • school education and transport and adult learning
  • highways, such as traffic and road maintenance, including potholes
  • planning at a high level
  • fire and public safety
  • adult social care and safeguarding, including early help
  • children's social care and protection
  • museums and libraries
  • waste management and recycling
  • public health, such as outbreak control
  • trading standards
  • council housing

How the different councils spend Council Tax

View a detailed breakdown of how North Norfolk District Council spends its Council Tax.

For more information on how your parish spends its Council tax, please refer to your parish council's website. 

View contact details for your parish council.

How Norfolk County Council spends its Council tax.  

What is a precept?

All local councils set a precept. Every Council has a budget, the amount of money required to fund its operations. A precept is the shortfall of money after a Council has deducted its predicted income from its planned expenditure for the upcoming year.

How a precept is calculated

The precept is divided by the taxbase (number of households) in the parish, district and county area eligible to pay Council Tax. It calculates the charge that each council charges the residents to carry out services. 

The district council collects the Council Tax for all three local government bodies. It pays the amounts to the parish and county councils at the start of each financial year. District and county councils receive additional local government funding to provide community schemes. In contrast, a parish council only receives council tax funding.

The amount of Council tax changes when the Council increase or decreases its budget or the taxbase (number of households) for the area increases or decreases.

How are Council Tax charges calculated?

The Council Tax charge is the precept divided by the taxbase. This calculation provides a figure on a Band D basis, the averaging banding of property size.


Suppose a parish sets a precept of £8,000 (funding required to carry out its operations) and has a taxbase of 200 (the number of Council tax paying residents). The charge to each resident is £8,000 200 = £40 per band D. 

A charge is calculated for the parish, district and county councils, plus the Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner. The four charges form the total Council Tax bill for each resident.

The resulting figure is then multiplied by a proportion relative to Band D, as shown below. Larger houses are given a banding further down the scale. Therefore there is a larger Council tax bill for bigger properties. Equally, a smaller home is given a banding further up the scale, which results in a smaller Council tax bill.

Property Banding: Council tax conversion

Band A 6/9 
Band B 7/9
Band C 8/9 
Band D 9/9
Band E 11/9 
Band F 13/9 
Band G 15/9 
Band H 18/9

So, continuing the example of £40 per band D, if a residents property is classed as a band C, £40 would be divided by nine (£4.44) and then multiplied by eight (£35.55). The final Council tax charge is always rounded to two decimal places (pennies). Therefore the Band D property would pay £35.55 instead of the £40 Band D property.