Why become a Parish Councillor?
By becoming a Parish Councillor you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support – a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve.
It is a voluntary position with some expenses able to be paid in certain cases.
How much time does it take up?
Councils usually meet once a month for the council meeting to which members of the public are also invited. Meetings usually last up to hours, depending on what’s on the list of items to discuss. Some councils may also have sub-committees to deal with specific subjects, such as planning matters.
In addition to the regular meetings some Councillors are occasionally required to give time for ‘ad hoc’ meetings – for example with architects or agents to discuss planning applications that the council must give its opinions on.
How long does a Parish Councillor serve for?
Once elected, Parish Councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years. If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election.
This does not mean that you have to stay for four years. If you find it’s not for you, or you can no longer meet the commitment, you can stand down.
Am I eligible to be a Parish Councillor?
To stand for election to become a parish councillor you must be:
- At least 18 years old on the day of your nomination, and
- A British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union
You must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
- You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the parish in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards
- You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election
- Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the parish area
- You have lived in the parish area of within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election
Disqualifications from standing
There are certain people who are disqualified from being elected to a parish or community council in England and Wales.
You cannot be a candidate if at the time of your nomination and on the day of the election, any of the following are true:
- You are employed by the parish council or hold a paid office under the parish/community council (including joint boards or committees),
- You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order,
- You have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before polling day
- You have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices and offences relating to donations) or under the Audit Commission Act 1998
A person may also be disqualified from election if they have been disqualified from standing for election to a local authority following a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (formerly the Adjudication Panel for England or Wales).
You don’t have to be connected to a political party.
If you do become a parish councillor you will have to sign up to the Code of Conduct.
Are you interested in becoming a Parish Councillor?
The best way to find out what it’s like to be a Parish Councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now. Go along to a Parish Council meeting on the second Monday of each month (except August) at 7.30pm and speak to one of the Councillors and find out what they think of the job.
If there is a vacancy for co-opting a new Councillor, it will be advertised on our website, Facebook and parish notice boards.
Contact the Clerk to request an application form (email@example.com) and you’ll be invited to the next parish meeting to explain why you wish to join the Parish Council. If there are other applicants, the Councillors will vote and you will be notified soon after.