The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The parish council’s role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also the responsibility of the council.
The village falls within the Non-metropolitan district of Mendip, which was formed on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, having previously been part of Frome Rural District, which is responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.
Somerset County Council is responsible for running the largest and most expensive local services such as education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning.
It is also part of the Somerton and Frome county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d’Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
The village of Norton St Philip, the main centre of population, was a thriving cloth and wool trading centre in medieval times, with its own fair and charter market. Now, as then, the village is surrounded by farms, but today the working population largely commutes to one of four local towns or to the city of Bath, all about seven miles away.
There is a half-hourly bus service to both Bath and Frome, a parish church, a gospel chapel, First School, two pubs, a repair garage and a small village hall. There is a shop (the Co-op) on the Fortescue Fields development.
The hamlet of Farleigh Hungerford, with its own church, pub and petrol station, is separated from Norton St Philip by the A36.
The parish has a population of nearly 1,000, with some 700 voters represented by a maximum of seven parish councillors (see Councillors).