Hatfield Town Council is at the closest level of local government to residents. Councils at this level have the option to be a town council, with a Mayor and Leader of the Council, or a parish council, with a Chair who combines both roles. Hatfield Town Council moved to a Mayor and Leader system in 2006.
As well as the town itself, the areas covered by Hatfield Town Council also include Lemsford Village to the north, Cooper’s Green to the west and Newgate Street Village to the southeast. However, it is not the only local authority in town, and responsibilities are divided and shared with Hertfordshire County Council and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.
Which Council: County, Borough, or Town?
In Hertfordshire, we have three tiers of local government: the county council level, the district/ borough level, and the parish/town level; each tier has its own range of duties and functions.
For residents in Hatfield, Hertfordshire County Council is responsible for issues such as social care (both adult and children), schools & education, transport & highways, major infrastructure projects, and mineral extractions.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is responsible for planning applications, social housing, car parking, town centres, economic development, and bin collections.
Meanwhile Hatfield Town Council is responsible for several open spaces, sports facilities, and community halls. The Town Council is also a statutory consultee to a number of issues which are determined by Hertfordshire County Council, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, and other regional and national organisations.
More details on what happens at the county and borough level can be found on their websites:
Hatfield Town Council has 15 councillors, who are usually elected every four years – the next set of elections are scheduled for May 2023.
If a vacancy arises between elections, new councillors may be brought onboard via a by-election (where residents get to vote) or, if no election is called, through a co-option process (where councillors get to vote). Councillors are not paid and undertake these roles as volunteers.
From the 15 councillors elected, the Leader of the biggest political grouping is chosen to be the Leader of the Council; a Deputy Leader of the Council is also chosen.
The Mayor is elected for a one-year term by the Council at its Annual Meeting in May, where the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council are also recognized, along with the leaders and deputies of all the political groups. Councillors are also chosen to chair committees, sub-committees, and project groups at this meeting.
Whist no councillors are paid, the Mayor is given a small allowance, which is usually donated to their chosen charity for that year. For 2022/23, this sum totalled £600.
Further information on the town council’s current councillors, and how to contact them, can be found on our Town Councillors page.
The primary source of income for the Town Council comes from the Precept, which is a local tax collected by the Borough Council on behalf of the Town Council. This money is required to run the Council and to maintain and improve the facilities, activities, and services that the Town Council provides for Hatfield’s residents.
The Town Council may also receive funding as part of a planning agreement, such as the Section 106 Agreement or Community Infrastructure Levy, or from grant making bodies such as Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council or Sports England. In addition to this external funding, Hatfield Town Council has several commercial revenue streams which helps to reduce the overall cost of running the town council facilities.
Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) and financial transparency
Hatfield Town Council, as with all councils of a similar size, is required to submit its financial accounts and statements to an internal auditor appointed by the Council. The Council is also required to complete an Annual Governance & Accountability Return (AGAR) which includes the findings of the Internal Auditor, together with Governance Statements and Financial Statements. The AGAR is then submitted to the independent external auditor appointed by the Audit Commission for examination. These requirements are set out in The Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 and the Accounts & Audit Regulations 2015.
Copies of the Council’s most recent AGARs (and for the last few years) can be found on our Financial Transparency page.
The Town Council must also publish a list of individual items of expenditure that exceeds £500, as well as information about the Town Clerk’s job and salary.
Information and Data Governance
All public bodies are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Data Protection Act 2018. This allows members of the public to seek information from local authorities who must provide it as long as the information is held and the request is not exempt by the legislation.
Should you wish to make an information request please do so in writing to the Town Clerk, either via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Hatfield Town Council
Birchwood Leisure Centre
Further information on what information can be requested, what information is exempt and guidance on how to make an effective request can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office’s website.
Details on how Hatfield Town Council makes its decisions can be found on our Council and Committees page.