Parish & Town Council Elections 2015
Are you passionate about the area you live in and have ideas for ways to improve it? Do you want to make a difference? Do you have good communication skills, the ability to listen to the views of other members of your community and the desire to represent those views effectively in Parish Council meetings? Do you have a skill which would be an asset to the Parish Council? If you can answer yes to these questions then don’t leave it to someone else. If you believe you could make a difference to your area then you should put yourself forward. Contested elections are good for democracy and democratically elected and accountable councillors will help to build a stronger council that can move forward with the backing of the electorate. The local elections on 7th May are the perfect opportunity for you to get involved in shaping the future of your local community.
This sounds like me so what’s involved...?
Local (parish and town) councils are the first tier of governance and are the first point of contact for anyone concerned with a community issue. There are five of these democratically elected local authorities in the Redcar & Cleveland area.
- Guisborough Town Council
- Loftus Town Council
- Saltburn, Marske & New Marske Parish Council
- Skelton & Brotton Parish Council
- Lockwood Parish Council
Parish Councillors are not employees or volunteers. They are elected representatives who volunteer their time for free to work on behalf of their communities. There is a legal requirement to attend local council meetings and to abide by the code of conduct. The main duties and responsibilities of a Parish Councillor are as follows:-
- To attend meetings when summoned to do so.
- To represent all of your constituents.
- To listen and respond to the needs and views of your community so you can represent those views when discussing council business and working with outside bodies.
- To engage in constructive debate and form sound judgements based on what is best for the community and to abide by majority decisions.
- To prepare for meetings and comment on proposals to help the council to make decisions.
- To ensure, along with other councillors, that the council is properly managed.
- To behave in an ethical way and maintain proper standards of behaviour as an elected representative of the people.
I’m really interested so what do I need to do next...?
To stand as a Parish Councillor you should meet certain criteria, you must be:-
- A British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen
· At least 18 years of age on the day that you are nominated as a candidate.
You must also meet at least one of the following criteria:-
- You are a registered local government elector within the parish
.You have occupied land in the parish as owner or tenant during the whole of the previous 12 months.
.You have been a resident in the parish, or within 4.8 kilometres of the parish during the whole of the previous 12 months.
.Your principal or only place of work during the previous 12 months has been in the parish.
A person is disqualified from holding office as a parish or town councillor if:
.They hold a paid office or other place of profit in the council.
.They are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order.
.They have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to more than 3 months imprisonment within the last five years ·
.They incur illegal expenditure (when acting as a councillor) of over £2,000, or are found guilty of using corrupt or illegal practices.
How do I go about being nominated...?
If you wish to stand for Parish Councillor you will need a nomination pack which can be obtained from the election office at Redcar & Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart after the election is officially called on Friday 27th March 2015, from your local town or parish council office or the relevant documents can be downloaded anytime from the electoral commission website (www.electoralcommission.org.uk). You will need to complete a nomination paper and a candidate’s consent to nomination form following the guidance included in the pack.
Completed nomination papers and candidate consent forms then need to be delivered in person to the Returning Officer at Redcar & Cleveland Leisure & Community Heart where they will be checked by the election team and a letter confirming a valid nomination will be issued. Nomination forms can be delivered in person between 10.00am and 4.00pm on any working day between Monday 30th March and Thursday 9th April. The deadline for valid forms to be received is 4pm on Thursday 9th April. Please note that Good Friday (3rd April) and Easter Monday (6th April) are not classed as working days.
What happens next...?
The Returning Officer must publish a statement of persons nominated by 4pm on Friday 10th April. It will appear on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council’s Elections website (www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/elections) and will also be available from the respective parish or town council offices.
Where the number of candidates for an electoral area is less than or equal to the number of seats to be filled, those candidates are declared to be elected and will receive a notice from the Returning Officer informing them of their election.
If there are more candidates than seats to be filled in any ward then the election in that ward will proceed to a poll on Thursday 7th May 2015 along with the Parliamentary and Borough Council elections.