About the Council

Aston-cum-Aughton Parish Council's aim is to help improving the local community, the Parish takes in Aston, Aughton, Swallownest, and the hamlets of Fence and Hardwick. The Parish Council represents the whole electorate within the parish, delivering services to meet local needs.

The Parish Council comprises 15 Councillors who are elected every 4 years. The Council is led by the Chair (who is supported by a Vice Chair) both of whom are elected by their fellow Councillors. The term of office for the Chair is two years. Should a councillor resign during their 4 year term and insufficient people stand for election to fulfil the vacancy, then a process of co-option can be undertaken. Even though Parish Councillors are elected, they do not get paid.

A Parish Councillor is governed by a designated Code of Conduct which includes a statutory duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by all. 

The Council employs a Parish Clerk (the Proper Officer), under section 112 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972, to provide administrative support for the Council's activities. The Parish Clerk, in financial matters, is known as the Responsible Finance Officer (RFO), some Parish Councils separate the two roles, Aston-cum-Aughton Parish Council's Clerk is also the RFO.  Any other staff employed by the Council, answer to the Clerk who is their line manager and is responsible for their performance. 


Councillors have three main components to their work:


  • Decision making - Through meetings and attending committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.



  • Monitoring - Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.



  • Getting involved locally - As local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their parishioners and local organisations. These responsibilities and duties often depend on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available, and may include:
  • Going to meetings of local organisations such as tenants' associations.
  • Going to meetings of bodies affecting the wider community.
  • Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public.
  • Running a surgery for residents to bring up issues.
  • Meeting with individual residents in their own homes


The Parish Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer

The Clerk's primary responsibility is to advise the Council on whether its decisions are lawful and recommend ways in which decisions can be implemented. To help with this, the Clerk can be asked to research topics of concern to the council and provide unbiased information to help the council to make appropriate choices.

The Clerk has a wide range of other responsibilities which are set out in his/her job description. The Clerk must recognise that the council is responsible for all decisions and that he/she takes instructions from the council as a body. The Clerk is not answerable to any individual councillor - not even the Chairman.

The duties of the Responsible Finance Officer are to ensure that the Council’s financial records and activities comply with the ‘proper practices’ referred to in the Accounts and Audit regulations as set out in the NALC/SLCC document ‘Governance and Accountability for Local Councils. 

In summary, the Clerk/RFO prepares financial reports for the Finance & Employment Committee/Council, these reports cover budget monitoring, fund balances, receipts and payments to date, and other relevant reports. The Clerk/RFO is responsible for the preparation of the draft budget, when approved by the Council this forms the basis for the annual budget for the financial year, submitting of the precept with the relevant breakdown to Rotherham Borough Council, investments, bank transfers, VAT returns and many more.

The Clerk/RFO also manages the financial risk, the insurance risk, and the assets of the Council.

Each year the Council has an interim and final internal audit and an external audit. The Clerk/RFO must ensure that the annual return documentation, supporting paperwork and financial reports are completed ready for these audits.