Sitting on a Parish Council gives residents the opportunity to serve their community and make a difference. It is vital to have representatives from all walks of life. Experience is not necessary, although having worked within local village groups can be an advantage.
We work on many different issues and the following might help you to understand what being a parish councillor means on a daily basis.
How Much Time Does It Take Up?
Councils meet once a month for the council meeting, to which members of the public are also invited. In Snitterfield, we meet on the second Monday evening of every month except in August. Meetings last from 2 to 3 hours, depending on what’s on the agenda. We also have working groups to which it is expected that all councillors will attend at least one or two.
In addition to the regular meetings, councillors are required to spare time for ‘ad hoc’ meetings – for example with architects or agents to discuss planning applications that the council must give its opinions on.
Outside of meetings councillors undertake other duties such as checking street lights, inspecting play areas, visiting residents etc.
How Long Does a Parish Councillor Serve For?
Once elected or co-opted, parish councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years or until the term of the Parish Council has ended. If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election.
It doesn’t 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 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.
If you do become a parish councillor you will have to sign up to the Code of Conduct (under review).
Will I Get Any Training?
Training for parish and town councils is offered by the National Association of Local Councils.
Don’t Take Our Word for It!
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, speak to one of the councillors and find out what they think of the job.
If you want to become a parish councillor, please contact the Parish Clerk on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.