Combe Martin Parish Council currently has four vacancies for the office of Councillor.
Parish Councillors have an opportunity to make a real difference to their community, at a small cost in time and effort. Have you considered becoming a Parish Councillor? It may be easier and more rewarding than you think. But what is involved? Here is some background information you might find interesting.
What is a Parish Council?
A Parish Council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish. It is the level of local government closest to the community, with the district authority (North Devon District Council) and the county authority (Devon County Council) above it in the hierarchy.
Why become a Parish Councillor?
By becoming a Parish Councillor, your community will look to you for help, guidance and support. You will become a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve.
What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community. And they have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence decisions made by other organisations such as the district or county council, health authorities, police etc. In this respect Parish Councils are extremely powerful. The organisations that make the final decisions know that a Parish Council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something and its views will be taken seriously.
How Much time will it take up?
Councils usually meet once a month for the council meeting to which members of the public are also invited. Meetings may last two or three hours, depending on what is on the list of items to discuss. Some councils may also have committees and sub-committees to deal with specific subjects, such as planning matters.
In addition to the regular meetings, Councillors may be asked to give up their time for ‘ad hoc’ meetings and other Council matters.
Who can be a councillor?
The easy answer is almost anyone, as long as you are:
• British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union.
• at least 18 years old.
• registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election.
You can’t be a Councillor if you:
• work for the council you want to be a Councillor for, or for another local authority in a politically restricted post.
• are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order.
• have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the five years before election day.
• have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court.
If you do become a Parish Councillor you will have to sign up to the Parish Council’s Code of Conduct.
How do I become a Councillor?
Parish Councillors are elected by the public at Local Council Elections and serve four-year terms. The nomination process and appropriate forms (the nomination paper and the candidate’s consent to nomination) must be completed and returned in the prescribed timescales.
A ‘casual vacancy’ may arise during the 4 year term (e.g. if an existing councillor resigns). In this instance and depending on the circumstances, a poll may be called or the vacancy may be filled by co-option.