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 code of conduct and to rules that apply to the disclosure of some business or financial interests and non-registerable or disclosable pecuniary interests.
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 removing yourself from the meeting while any discussion or vote takes place on items in which you have declared interest) 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 last full elections were held in May 2013 but Breage, having 12 vacancies and only 10 people applying, had those 10 Councillors returned uncontested with no need for an election to be held. The next elections will be in May 2017.
To become a Parish Councillor you will need to be 18 or over and a Commonwealth Citizen and satisfy one of the following conditions:
- be resident within, or live within 4.8 km (3 miles) of the Parish
- be on the electoral register with an address in the Parish of Breage
- be employed within, or work within 4.8 km of the Parish of Breage
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 or three hours. 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.
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: work, interests, why you wish to be a Councillor, etc. You are welcome to do this by e-mail. This should be done by Tuesday 4 February 2014.
You may be interested in viewing the Parish Council website as you will see many more details there: www.breagepc.org.uk
- Mrs Carol Macleod
- Clerk to Breage Parish Council
- 14 January 2014
- Please contact the Clerk on 01326 574781 or firstname.lastname@example.org