A parish council is the first tier of local government. The parish of Cawthorne is in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley.
There are nine seats on the parish council with the councillors being elected from the local community.
Parish Council meetings are held in the Moxon Room, Cawthorne Village Hall, Tivy Dale, Cawthorne.
Cawthorne Parish Council owns the cemetery, the Orchard play area and The Peace Garden. It also provides the village litter bins, dog litter bins and bus shelters.
The parish council is not responsible for the maintenance of footpaths, roads, road signs, the village green and roadside verges; these are all the responsibility of Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.