Become a Councillor
How to be a Parish Councillor
- Do you want to make a difference?
- Do you want to get things done in your local community?
- Are you worried about how cutbacks might affect local services?
- Would you like to take a more active role within your community?
If you answered “yes” to any of these four questions, then becoming a parish councillor might be for you.
By becoming a parish councillor, you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support – a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve.
Seeing your community change for the better, as a result of decisions you have helped make, is something that can give you a sense of achievement and pride.
Background to Parish Councils
Established by legislation in 1894, Parish Councils are the tier of local government closest to the people. There are over 9,000 Parish Councils in England, with more than 80,000 parish councillors.
Parish Councils are statutory bodies with certain duties and legal powers, and give a powerful voice to local communities. The Localism Act 2011 gave increased powers to Parish Councils, allowing them to become involved in a wider range of activities to reflect the changing needs of their residents.
Becoming a Parish Councillor
You can become a parish councillor through either election or co-option.
Elections are normally held every four years, and any eligible candidate may stand at election. In the event seats remain unfilled, or a vacancy occurs between elections, spaces may be filled through a co-option process.
To stand for election to a 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
- be at least 18 years old
- not be the subject of any bankruptcy order.
To be eligible to stand for election for Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common Parish Council you don’t have to be connected to a political party, but you must:
- be an elector of the parish or in the past 12 months have occupied land or other premises in the parish (as owner or tenant) or work in the parish (as your principal or only place of work) or live within three miles of the parish boundary.
All parish councillors are given induction training to help them understand their role, and ongoing training and updates are provided to all councillors to ensure they remain up to date with relevant legislative and statutory requirements.
Training is also provided by the Surrey and Sussex Association of Local Councils who represent parish and town councils in Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex.
Don’t take our word for it
You can find more information on Parish Councils and becoming a parish councillor by visiting the Electoral Commission website, or contact the Parish Clerk.
But, the best way to find out what it’s like to be a parish councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now. Go along to a parish council meeting or speak to one of the councillors and find out how they’re helping your local community.