Lighthorne Parish Council may have up to six councillors. If the council has fewer than six members then new members may be co-opted if candidates come forward. If there are more candidates than vacancies, or if more than ten parishioners request it, then an election must be held.
- What do councillors do?
- How much time does it take up?
- Am I qualified?
- Other ways to get involved
What do councillors do?
Councillors are elected to represent to residents of Lighthorne Parish for a four year term. Being a councillor is a voluntary role and has three main componentsYou cannot stand for election if you::
- Decision making
- Getting involved locally
Through meetings and attending committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
Getting involved locally
As local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their community and local organisations, as defined by the powers and duties of a Parish Council. These responsibilities and duties often depend on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available and may include:
- Going to meetings of local organisations (for example, the Village Hall Committee)
- Going to meetings of bodies affecting the wider community (for example, campaigning for appropriate Primary Health Care at Upper Lighthorne Heath)
- Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public
How much time does it take up?
Quite often councillors say that their duties occupy them for about three hours a week. Obviously there are some councillors who spend more time than this – and some less, but in the main, being a parish councillor is an enjoyable way of contributing to your community, and helping to make it a better place to live and work.
Am I qualified?
Yes – most people are. However there are a few rules. You have to be:
- A British subject, or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Union; and
- On the “relevant date” (i.e. the day on which you are nominated or if there is a poll the day of the election) 18 years of age or over; and additionally:
- On the “relevant day” a local government elector for the council area for which you want to stand; or
- Have during the whole of the 12 months preceding that day occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the council area; or
- Have during that same period had your principal or only place of work in the council area; or
- During that 12 month period resided in the council area
In the case of a sitting member of a parish council you can also satisfy the criteria to be elected if you have lived in the council area or within 3 miles of it for the whole of the 12 months preceding the “relevant day”.
You cannot stand for election if you:
- Are subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order
- Have, within five years before the day of the election, been convicted in the United Kingdom of any offence and have had a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of over three months without the option of a fine
- You work for the council you want to become a councillor for (but you can work for other local authorities, including the principal authorities that represent the same area)
Councllors can be automatically disqualified if they do not attend meetings for six consecutive months. To avoid this councillors need to submit reasons for their non attendance and their council has to approve and minute the reasons for non-attendance. If their reasons are not accepted they face automatic disqualification.
Other ways to get involved
Lighthorne Parish Council supports and encourages a range of groups within the parish. Volunteering is great way to support your community.