BREAGE PARISH COUNCIL – Parish Councillor Vacancy
Breage Parish Council is seeking to co-opt a member to the Parish Council
The person co-opted must receive a majority of votes of those councillors present and voting at the meeting at which the co-option takes place. Parish Councillors are volunteers who give up their time to try and make the Parish a better place to live and work. They have a range of powers and duties over local facilities and make decisions, which affect Parishioner’s everyday lives. Councillors are not paid and have to abide by a local government code of conduct and declare a personal or prejudicial interest if they have an interest in any matter under discussion at a parish council meeting.
To appreciate what is involved in being a Parish Councillor you need to know what a Parish Council is, and what it can and cannot do. The Parish Council is nothing to do with the Church or the Diocese; nor is it a voluntary and community sector body. Your Parish Council is the local authority closest to the electorate. A Parish Council is a separate legal, corporate entity. First created by the Local Government Act of 1894 in most rural areas, the current consolidated legislation is that of 1972.
A Parish Council also provides services for the local people. These will range from recreation grounds and play areas, to cemeteries and allotments. What is provided is down to your Council. There is a list of the activities that a Parish Council has the power to provide. Like any statutory body it can only do the things for which the law or any governing document gives a power.
The Parish Council has one particular asset that is extremely valuable – it has the ability to set a Precept, (sum of money), which is collected from all residents through the Council Tax system. With the right to levy a form of taxation come some duties. In particular there is a duty to behave in an ethical manner according to a Code of Conduct (declaring interests and leaving the room when likely to be prejudiced) and a duty to have the annual accounts subjected to audit under the aegis of the Audit Commission.
Training is available and support will be found from colleagues and the Clerk to the Council.
All elected Councillors retire after a four year term, but casual vacancies may well arise in the intervening period. The next full elections will be in May 2017
To become a Parish Councillor you will need to be 18 years old or over on the day of your nomination and a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union and meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
- be registered as a local government elector for the parish;
- have during the whole of the preceding twelve months occupied as owner or tenant, any land or premises in the parish;
- your principal or only place of work during the preceding twelve months has been in the parish
- have during the whole of the preceding twelve months resided in the parish or within 4.8 km thereof.
Certain people are disqualified from becoming Councillors. You cannot be a candidate if you:
- work for the Parish or hold paid office under the council which has the vacancy; or
- are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order; or
- have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence) without the option of a fine, in the past five years; or
- have been disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.
You may have an issue about finding the time to undertake extra tasks; the council meets on the first Tuesday of each month for two to three hours and sometimes longer. You may feel uncertain about the knowledge required to be a Councillor and may feel overawed by those who have done the job for, what may seem to you to be, a long time. The simple question is the key to what is going on and all good Councillors should use the key word – “Why?” on a regular basis. Why not come a meeting to observe?
Should you be interested in this vacancy you must be sure you are eligible to stand and then formally make application to the Clerk giving some personal details: former work, interests, how long you’ve been in the Parish, why you wish to be a Councillor, etc. You are welcome to do this by E-mail. This should be done by Friday 14 August 2015.
Mrs Carol Macleod
Clerk to Breage Parish Council
If you wish to contact the Clerk with questions about the vacancy please do so by Friday 7th August
on 01326 574781/07767165077 or firstname.lastname@example.org