Parish councillors are elected for a term of four years. Elections are held on the first Thursday in May.
The right to vote at any local government election is dependent upon the person's name having been entered in the current register of local government electors which is published annually.
In all cases, the ordinary election of parish councillors is conducted by means of nomination of candidates by two electors and, if necessary, a poll.
To be able to stand as a candidate at a parish council election in England you must:
- be at least 18 years old
- be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union,
and meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
- Registered local government electors
- Those whose main or only place of work is in the parish area
- Owners or tenants who occupy any land or other premises in the parish area
- Living in the parish area or within three miles of it
Casual vacancies and Co-option
Casual vacancies and Co-option Procedure
A casual vacancy occurs when:
a) a councillor fails to deliver his declaration of acceptance of office atthe proper time or
b) a councillor resigns; or
c) a councillor dies; or
f) a person ceases to be qualified to be a councillor for a reason not mentioned above; or
g) a councillor fails to attend meetings for six consecutive months.
Advertising the casual vacancy
The Council must give public notice of a casual vacancy as soon as possible in accordance with section 232 of the Local Government Act 1972.
The Clerk shall duly publish 'a notice of vacancy' giving 14 days within which a by-election may be called.
Following expiry of the 14 days notice, the principle Council will advise the Council if a by-election is to be held or if the vacancy is to be filled by co-option.
The co-option process
Where no by-election is called, the Council must meet and fill the vacancy within a reasonable period of time following expiry of the initial 14 day period. The only exception is where a by-election is not called and the vacancy occurs within 6 months of when the Councillor would retire, then the post may be left vacant.
Applicants for co-option will be asked to confirm their eligibility for the position of Councillor
Where the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of vacancies, the candidates shall be appointed to the council if they meet the criteria and they are not disqualified.
Voting will be in accordance with statutory requirements. A successful candidate must receive an absolute majority, i.e.receivemore than 50% of the votes cast.
If there are more than two candidates for one vacancy and no one of them at the first count receives an absolute majority over the rest of the candidates, the candidate with the least votes will fail and the remaining candidates voted on again. This process shall be repeated until an absolute majority is obtained.
After the vote has been concluded, the successful candidate will be declared.
The newly appointed councillor must sign a declaration of his acceptance of office, in the presence of another councillor or the clerk. The declaration must be delivered before or at the first meeting of the council after co-option.