Whitfield Parish Council currently has vacancies for Parish Councillors.
Quite often Councillors say that their duties occupy them for about 3 or 4 hours a week. Obviously there are some Councillors who spend more time than this – and some less, but in the main, being a Parish Councillor is an enjoyable and rewarding giving you the chance to contribute to your community, and to take part in shaping the place in which you live or work.
Parish Councils are statutory bodies and are the first tier of local government in England and work towards improving community well-being and providing better services at a local level. Their activities fall into three main categories: representing the local community; delivering services to meet local needs; striving to improve quality of life and community well-being.
If you are interested in becoming a Parish Councillor, please send an introductory letter of application to the Parish Clerk. The letter should contain some personal and background information to demonstrate you have an interest in local matters, are able and willing to represent the Council and the community, have the time and commitment to attend meetings as necessary, along with reasons why you wish to become a councillor and what you think you would contribute to the Parish Council.
The Parish Clerk, Mrs Jo Matcham, is happy to answer any additional questions and to offer further guidance to any interested candidates.
Good Councillors Guide [ LINK ]
Table of Parish Council Powers [ LINK ]
The current Vacancies can be filled by co-option, which is a simplified process that is used to appoint new Councillors without the need for an election.
Qualification to serve as a Councillor (Section 79 of the Local Government Act 1972).
A Councillor must be a British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen, and 18 years of age or over, and fulfil one or more of the following four criteria:
i. Be on and remains to be on the Register of Electors for the Parish; or
ii. Has occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish during the whole of the twelve months preceding the nomination; or
iii. Had a principal or only place of work in the Parish during the whole of the twelve months preceding the nomination; or
iv. Resided either in the Parish or within three miles of it during the whole of the twelve months preceding the nomination.
Note: If a candidate’s only qualification of the four is (i), to be on the Register of Electors for the Parish, and subsequently comes off the Register of Electors, the qualification would lapse. The other three qualifications remain valid for the four year term, so even if a successful candidate left the parish he/she would not be required to resign, although it might be considered appropriate to do so.
Reasons a person cannot serve as a Councillor: (if they are disqualified under the terms of Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972):
i. They are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order.
ii. They have, within 5 years, been convicted in the United Kingdom of any offence and have had a prison sentence (whether suspended or not) for a period of over 3 months without the option of a fine.
iii. They work for the Parish Council..
Candidates must satisfy the Council that they are eligible under the Act.
All Applicants should check that they meet the qualification requirements; confirm that they would be willing to accept the Code of Conduct and other obligations of a Parish Councillor; and send an introductory letter of application to the Parish Clerk.
When the applications have been received, the Parish Clerk will check them and circulate copies to Parish Councillors before the meeting at which the decision will be made.
Candidates will be invited to the meeting at which the Parish Council will make its decision on co-option of New Councillors. Candidates will be asked to introduce themselves and to provide councillors the opportunity to ask questions of them prior to the decision being made.
The clerk will notify the candidates of the results by email, as soon as is reasonably possible (usually within 24 hours).
Successfully co-opted candidates become councillors in their own right, with immediate effect, and are no different to any other member. As such, they must sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office and Registration of Interests Form at their first meeting, or within 28 calendar days, whichever is the sooner.