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Northamptonshire County
Association of Local Councils

Empowering Parish and Town Councils

NCALC logo small

CEO: Danny Moody
6 Litchborough Business Park
Northampton Road
Litchborough, Northampton
NN12 8JB

Tel: 01327 831482

  • Image: Welcome to Northampton!

    Welcome to Northampton!

    We're here to help!

  • Image: Your County Association of Local Councils

    Your County Association of Local Councils

  • Image: Empowering councils to help make towns and villages better places to live

    Empowering councils to help make towns and villages better places to live

Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils is a not for profit membership organisation, representing, training and advising the parish and town councils of Northamptonshire, who form the grass roots tier of local government in England.

We offer members a resource of vital, operational information and facilitate communication at all levels of the parish network - district, county, regional and national.

As a membership association we are unable to deal with queries from the public, but we are happy to make general information available through this website.

Latest News

9 Top Reasons to Stand For Election - #9

9 Top Reasons to Stand For Election - #9

Thu, 09 Apr 2015 07:00 by Danny Moody

Are you thinking of standing to be a parish or town councillor in the elections on 7 May 2015? The deadline to submit your nomination papers is 4pm TODAY, Thursday 9 April 2015.

In the run up to today's deadline we've been looking at Nine Top Reasons to Stand for Election.

Number 9 - It's Democracy!

Ultimately, being elected to public office is all about democracy, and democracy is the life blood of all councils whether parish, town, borough, district or county. More »

Winston Churchill said "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." and so whilst it's not 100% perfect 100% of the time democracy is what makes councils different.

The fact that the members of a parish or town council are elected, and can be booted out by the people every fours years, is one of the three legs of the stool. The other legs are that parish and town councils are statutory bodies (created by law) and that they have the power to levy a tax (the precept) on the council tax payers in the area. If any one of these legs is removed the stool becomes shaky, so it is very important that parish and town councils have a strong elected mandate.

If there are less candidates for election than seats available then there is still an election, but it is an uncontested one. All those standing are declared elected uncontested. Any vacant seats following the election can be filled by a different process called co-option, where members of the council choose who to fill the vacancy. A co-opted councillor is no less a councillor than one elected, but in the eyes of the public a council that has several co-opted members does not hold the same democratic mandate as one derived through a hotly contested election.

It is bizarre that councils that are left with vacancies following an election normally have no problem filling the seats by co-option afterwards. It might be that the candidates for co-option are responding to the urgent need, or more likely that they did not wish to expose themselves to the scrutiny of the electoral process. Certainly standing for election is not without its risks - after all the electorate might not vote for you - but it is a time for putting the interests of your community and council first, and those interests are best served if there is a strong contest at the elections.

Please consider standing to be a parish or town councillor. You'll be very glad you did!

If you live in Northamptonshire you'll find the contact details for all parish and town councils here. Get in touch with the Clerk and they will tell you how you can stand for election. » Less

9 Top Reasons to Stand For Election - #8

9 Top Reasons to Stand For Election - #8

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 07:00 by Danny Moody

Are you thinking of standing to be a parish or town councillor in the elections on 7 May 2015? Hurry, the deadline to submit your nomination papers is 4pm tomorrow, Thursday 9 April 2015.

In the run up to the deadline we've been looking at Nine Top Reasons to Stand for Election.

Number 8 - A Stepping Stone to Bigger Things

One of the great strengths of parish and town councils is that they are focused solely on their area. As a councillor you will make decisions that are in the best interests of your village or town, even if that means that another community misses out (that's up to their council, right?!). This focus is different to district and county councils, which have to judge and balance the competing needs of all the communities in their area. More »

So as a parish or town councillor your focus is necessarily very local. However, if you are the type that looks for opportunities to spread your wings, being a parish or town councillor can be a stepping stone to bigger things. Many a district or county councillor has cut their teeth by being a parish councillor first. Even some MPs started out as parish or town councillors; indeed some are still involved.

Even if you want to remain rooted in the parish sector there are opportunities for you to play on a wider stage. You could be appointed as a director at the County Association of Local Councils and gain a county-wide perspective, or even get elected as your county's representative on the Council of the National Association of Local Councils (www.nalc.gov.uk).

Public service in your capacity as a parish or town councillor may lead to other roles in public life too. The skills you learn as a parish or town councillor in terms of governance and accountability will stand you in good stead in all sorts of other public roles. In fact, you may become very sought-after if you have the right skills!

Please consider standing to be a parish or town councillor. You'll be very glad you did!

If you live in Northamptonshire you'll find the contact details for all parish and town councils here. Get in touch with the Clerk and they will tell you how you can stand for election. » Less

9 Top Reasons to Stand For Election - #7

9 Top Reasons to Stand For Election - #7

Tue, 07 Apr 2015 07:00 by Danny Moody

Are you thinking of standing to be a parish or town councillor in the elections on 7 May 2015? The deadline to submit your nomination papers is 4pm this Thursday, 9 April 2015.

In the run up to the deadline we're looking at Nine Top Reasons to Stand for Election.

Number 7 - Spend Your Time Productively

The most common reason people give for not wanting to stand as a parish or town councillor is "I haven't got time". It is true that councillorship does take time, but it needn't be all-consuming and the time it does take is at least spent productively! More »

Most councils meet 6 - 10 times per year and you should aim to attend every meeting if you can. they are typically held on weekday evenings. A typical meeting will take 2 - 3 hours of your time. So, for a council that meets 10 times a year you will need 20 to 30 hours or, to make it simple, 1/2 hour per week, for meetings.

To do the job well you will also need to prepare for meetings by reading meeting papers in advance and you may have actions to follow up on after meetings. This could take as much time as the meetings themselves, so that's another 1/2 hour per week on average.

So let's say that the minimum requirement to be a good councillor is 1 hour per week.

On top of that the sky's the limit. Some very active chairman, who attend every council and committee meeting and often represent the council on outside bodies say that "it's almost like a full time job!" But they are the exception, not the rule.

To really contribute towards the council, and because you are the sort of person that thinks "if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing properly" you will probably want to allocate 2 hours per week on average, with the greatest proportion of hours occurring just before and just after a meeting.

Which would you rather do: veg out in front of the latest TV reality show dross for two hours, or get up and do something positive and rewarding that makes a contribution to society?!

Please consider standing to be a parish or town councillor. You'll be very glad you did!

If you live in Northamptonshire you'll find the contact details for all parish and town councils here. Get in touch with the Clerk and they will tell you how you can stand for election. » Less

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