Becoming a councillor

How to become a councillor

Parish councillors are elected by the public and serve four-year terms.
Following elections, councils appoint a chair, or town mayor in town councils.
Parish councillors were unpaid positions until 2004 when allowance schemes
were introduced to encourage more people to stand. Allowances, which tend
not to be very large are at the discretion of the individual councils and they often
choose to maintain a strictly unpaid status.


The Election Procedure

Ordinary elections of local councillors take place on the first Thursday in May
every four years. For most local councils election year is 2003, 2007 etc. but
where the principal authority (county, district and unitary authority) councillor is
elected in some other year that is also the year of the local council election.
Reorganisation of local government may cause alteration of the election day
and election year in some cases.
The election timetable is as follows:
• Publication of notice of election: Not later than the twenty-fifth day before
the day of election.
• Delivery of Nomination papers: Not later than noon on the nineteenth day
before the day of election.
• Publication of list of candidates: Not later than noon on the seventeenth
day before the day of election.
• Delivery of notices of withdrawals of candidature: Not later than noon on
the sixteenth day before the day of election.
• Notice of Poll: Not later than the sixth day before the day of election.
• Polling: Between 07:00 and 22:00 on the day of election.
In calculating the timetable the Bank holidays and weekends are disregarded.


Nomination process

A prospective candidate must deliver or send by post to the Returning Officer a
valid nomination paper. This form is obtained from the Officer. The candidate’s
surname, forenames, residence and description (if required) must be entered
and his or her number and prefix letter from the current register of electors. The
Returning Officer has a copy of this register, and the clerk of the local council
normally has one.
The nomination paper must also contain similar particulars of a proposer and
a seconder. They must be electors for the area for which the candidate seeks
election (i.e. the parish, community or town or the ward if it is divided into
wards): they must sign it.


What Next?

The returning officer appointed by a principal authority (district, borough, county
or unitary authority) is the person responsible for the conduct and arrangement
for community, parish and town council elections. If you are considering
becoming a candidate for election it could be wise to contact the Returning
Officer to obtain any more detailed information. Also for more information about
what life is like as councillor contact your local County Association of Local
Councils or alternatively your local community, parish or town council.
But the election is not for a few years
If a seat becomes vacant mid-term (or if there are not enough candidates to fill
all council seats at election time) the council will hold a by-election. In certain
circumstances the council may then co-opt members to the council.

If you are interested in becoming a councillor contact our Parish Clerk

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