The powers and duties of PCCs are laid down by the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956. They include the duty to co-operate with the incumbent (rector or vicar) or priest in charge of the parish in promoting the mission of the Church in the parish.

The PCC is responsible for the financial affairs of the church, and the care and maintenance of the church fabric and its contents, including demanding chancel repair liability from local inhabitants. These latter responsibilities are executed by churchwardens or other volunteers. It also has a voice in the forms of service used by the church and may make representations to the bishop and deanery synod on matters affecting the welfare and pastoral care of the parish.

The PCC is required to appoint a church electoral roll officer who maintains the church electoral roll of lay members entitled to take part in the annual parochial church meeting. A new roll must be prepared every 6 years, and revised annually.