COULD YOU BECOME A COOKHILL PARISH COUNCILLOR?
Becoming a councillor is a most rewarding experience. It gives you the opportunity to help your local community and be part of a dedicated team providing key services for your area.
Being a Parish Councillor is a great way to gain political experience and useful skills in public speaking, debating and problem solving. New Parish Councillors are good news for the community – they inject fresh ideas, new perspectives and enthusiasm which benefits the community.
HOW DO I BECOME A COUNCILLOR?
There are four initial steps to take before standing in elections:
- Find out when the Notice of Election is published. Contact the Returning Officer in your District Council who can provide the timetable. You can also download the current timetable using the link at the end of this page.
- Get a nomination form. You can also download the forms and guidance from Staff in the Electoral Services Office have all the papers you need and can give you advice. Anyone who is eligible to stand can request these forms.
- Complete your nomination form. Put all your personal details and those of the two people supporting your nomination on the form – all three of you must sign it. All three of you must include your Electoral Register number (available from your Electoral Services Office). The technical name for the two people supporting your nomination are Proposer and Seconder.
- Return your completed nomination form in person. Don’t forget to send your form back by the deadline time and date. If you don’t you will not be able to stand in the election!
Another way to become a councillor is by co-option. This is where the council chooses someone to fill a vacancy and this occurs if insufficient candidates are proposed for seats at an election; either at an ordinary election, which occurs every four years, or when a seat falls vacant at other times. In addition, if a casual vacancy occurs between elections, the council must find out if the electors want an election before they can co-opt.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
Elections of local councillors take place on the first Thursday in May, every four years. Residents in parish and town councils decide who they want to represent them by voting in local elections. To stand for election on a parish or town council you don’t have to be connected to a political party but you must be:
- a UK or Commonwealth citizen; or
- a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; or
- a citizen of another Member state of the European Union; and
- be aged 18 or over.
To be eligible to stand for an election for a particular parish you must:
- be registered as a local government elector for the parish; or
- have (during the whole of the 12 months before nomination as a candidate) occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish; or
- worked in the parish (as your principal or only place of work); or
- live within three miles of the parish boundary.
In accordance with Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972, a person is disqualified from being elected if he/she has been:
- declared bankrupt; or
- a current paid employee of the council that you are standing for; or holds a paid office under the authority or holds a politically restricted post within a local authority, as defined in Section 2(1) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, or
- convicted of a crime and sentenced to a term of imprisonment (included suspended sentence) of not less than 3 months within 5 years before the date of the election; or
- disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.
WILL I HAVE THE TIME?
It is possible to spend much of your time on council work but the vast majority of Councillors have full-time jobs, families and hobbies too.
Unless you take on responsibility as a Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, your work for Cookhill Parish Council should not involve more than one meeting a month, time to consider documents and consultations in preparation for the meetings and time to consider planning applications delegated to you to review with another Councillor.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The main qualifications are an interest in your local community and a willingness to learn and work with others. Knowledge, experience and confidence in parish matters will soon follow. Cookhill Parish Council is proud to be a small but active and supportive council benefiting from Councillors who have been on the Parish Council for a number of years and are happy to help you find your feet.
Throughout your term as a Councillor you will receive support and assistance as necessary from the Parish Clerk, who is a professional member of staff employed by the Parish Council as the ‘corporate body’ and who is responsible for ensuring Cookhill Parish Council carry out its statutory functions and duties within the legislative guidelines. The Clerk can also assist with training requirements.
You can read ‘A Guide to Becoming a Parish/District Councillor’ booklet produced by Worcestershire CALC for more information.
Worcestershire CALC is the local branch of the County Association of Local Councils (CALC), which a voluntary member based organisation open to all parish and town councils across Worcestershire).