Are you eligible to be a Parish Councillor?
To stand for election on a parish council, you must:
• be a UK or commonwealth citizen, or;
• be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or;
• be a citizen of another Member state of the European Union;
• be at least 18 years old.
To be eligible to stand for an election for a particular parish, you must:
• be an elector of the parish, or;
• for the whole of the previous 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish, or;
• during the previous 12 months have worked in the parish (as your principal or only place of work), or;
• for the whole of the previous 12 months lived in the parish or within three miles of the parish boundary.
Who is the Parish Council?
Stanton Parish Council has been in existence for over 100 years. It is the first tier of local Government offering a population of 2,500 residents (at last census) the opportunity to gain access to information about local and National issues and a forum to raise any concerns they may have.
The Council is an elected body of 11 residents who qualify to act as Parish Councillors. Their role is to ensure that the Parish is using the precept from the Council Tax effectively and efficiently and to represent the interests of the Community they serve. Councillors meet monthly. A planning committee sits when necessary. Working parties are held when necessary to deal with specific areas of responsibility such as Highways, Projects and Development, Conservation, Environmental, Asset Management and Personnel.
Why should I be a Parish Councillor?
You’ve been in the village for a while and never been to a Parish Council meeting and you are thinking that the Council are all retired with time on their hands and not really bothered about issues affecting the village? However, if something ‘big’ happens or there is a large planning application, that’s when we all need support and guidance and the Parish Council is instrumental in providing that for the residents.
Councillors are someone you can turn to for help and advice and by getting involved and becoming a Councillor, you can influence decisions.
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. Helping make decisions to shape the future or improve your community is very rewarding and can give you a sense of pride and achievement.
Older people with life skills have a huge amount of experience to contribute and younger people can gain significant experience in areas as diverse as time management, team working, improved communication skills, problem solving, negotiation, organisation and confidence – all very transferable skills to a better employment!
If you feel you cannot do it yourself but know someone who could fulfil the above criteria then you can nominate them to be elected at the next election or when there is a vacancy!
What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish councils are statutory consultees for all planning matters. They also manage the village assets such as the Recreation Ground and its facilities, the public toilets, street furniture such as benches and bins, bus shelters, the Cemetery and contracts such as grass cutting and (some areas) hedge cutting.
The Council also decides on the budget for the precept and where the money is spent to improve facilities such as the recent play area renewal.
Although Parish Councils have limited powers to make decisions, they are a strong voice and can influence decisions on other organisations such as the police, local authority, County Council and health authority in representing the feelings and needs of this community.
Will I have the time?
At a minimum you would be required to attend monthly Council meetings of around 2 hours duration. These are the meetings at which agenda items are discussed, and items proposed and seconded for approval. The Chairman may accept your absence for holidays or work commitments but you must attend as often as you can to make the process more democratic.
In addition to the monthly meetings there may be occasional public meetings to discuss specific issues such as planning or a particular issue affecting the village which needs an informal get together to agree a plan of action.
New Councillors would be expected to attend training courses in their first year to assist them to understand the role better. Expenses and course fees are covered by the Council.
From time to time additional duties and projects are being developed so you may be asked to (For example) research the cost of a defibrillator or prepare a business case to purchase a Village sign. In all cases the Clerk is often available to give a hand or the project may be shared amongst more than one Councillor to spread the workload. Some Councillors have more spare time than others and this will always be taken into consideration.
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. The next elections will be held in May 2023.
The residents of Stanton may vote for their preferred Councillor who they feel best represents their interests.
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. Come along to a parish council meeting, or speak to one of our councillors and find out what they think of the job.