Becoming A Parish Councillor

Why not become a Parish Councillor?

On Thursday 2nd May 2019, elections will be held to determine who will sit on High Wych Parish Council for the next four years.  All present councillors will end their term of office in May and will have to submit a nomination form to stand for election, together with any qualifying parishioners who want to stand (more details below).  The deadline to submit nomination papers to East Herts Council is Wednesday 3rd April. 

What is the Parish Council?

The Parish Council comprises seven councillors and is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of its parishioners. It is the first level of local government and therefore the one closest to the community, with the District Authority (East Herts District Council) and the County Authority (Hertfordshire County Council) in the tiers above it.

Why become a Parish Councillor?

As a parish councillor you become a community leader with the power to make and influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve.

What decisions does the Parish Council make?

Although the Parish Council has limited powers to make decisions, it has the power to negotiate with and to influence other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the District or County Councils, health authorities, police etc.). In this respect the Parish Council is very 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.  Issues that affect the local community may include planning (it is a statutory consultee), highways matters, rights of way, litter, dog bins, crime prevention, etc. The Parish Council has the power to raise funding to provide services through the local council tax (via the District Council) and by obtaining grants.

How much time does it take up?

The Parish Council holds public meetings every two months (to which all members of the public are very welcome to attend). Meetings usually last about two hours, depending on what’s on the agenda for discussion.  In addition to the regular meetings, councillors may get involved in occasional local activities.

How long does a Parish Councillor serve for?

Once elected, parish councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years. If they then want to stay in the post they must stand for re-election.  This does not 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 to the 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 (this has yet to be clarified in the event of  Brexit happening on 29 March); and
  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be on the current parish electoral register (held by East Herts Council); or
  • in the past 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or premises in the parish; or
  • work in the parish (as your principal or only place of work); or
  • live within three miles of the parish boundary.

You don’t have to be connected to a political party.  The Parish Clerk can provide guidance on all the necessary procedures (email: highwychparishclerk@gmail.com).

Nomination packs will be available for candidates to download from East Herts website www.eastherts.gov.uk from 11th March

 

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All enquiries to: enquiries@highwychandallensgreen.co.uk