The Role of a Parish Councillor
If you look at the Parish Councillor job description it all sounds very formal and structured and to a certain extent it is because a degree of formality is needed to conduct council business But beyond this, its about understanding what makes Chorleywood “tick,” keeping up to date with local events and news and helping to answer parishioners queries and concerns.
You’ll typically attend a Committee meeting about every 2 to 3 weeks, normally on a Tuesday night. Ahead of those meetings you’ll need to prepare by reading the previous minutes, following up on any actions and doing any research you need to be better informed about a subject on the agenda.
Aside of the formal council meetings, an average month could see you meeting with local community groups or local government bodies to discuss joint projects or issues that we work together to resolve. But this will depend what committees you sit on and what projects the Parish Council are working on at the time.
From time to time you may also receive emails from Parishioners asking the council to look into a specific issue – this can be anything from planning queries, to concerns about dog fouling on the Common through to how to make Chorleywood more sustainable. You really never know what to expect! But it’s a key part of the role and it’s what we are here for so it’s always satisfying when we can help. And if you are not sure about something you can always call on your fellow Councillors for advice.
Some of the most enjoyable aspects of the role involve community engagement – whether that’s presenting a Community Champion Award, judging the local school’s Christmas painting competition or attending the Remembrance Service at Christchurch. Events like Village Day and other community based events provide a great opportunity to talk directly with people about what the Parish Council do and get feedback that we can respond to.
It’s safe to say no two weeks of being a Councillor are the same! Whilst there is the predictability of the Council meetings, the content of those meetings varies from session to session. You never know what is going to land in your mailbox and whilst some community events are on the agenda every year, the last 2 years have forced us to be more creative and that has resulted in some very unexpected but delightful activities!
Standing as a Parish Councillor – The Requirements
To stand as a Chorleywood Parish Councillor you need to be:
- 18 years of age
- British, Irish, Commonwealth or other EU member state’s citizen
- Must be a registered elector for parish, OR have lived / worked within the parish (or within 3 miles) for 12 months before the elections
You cannot stand as a Councillor of any of the following applies to you:
- You hold any office or are employed by Chorleywood Parish Council
- You have been the subject of Bankruptcy restrictions or interim order
- You have been convicted in last five years and imprisoned for not less than three months
- You have been found guilty of corrupt/illegal practices, or responsible for incurring unlawful expenditure and court orders disqualification
Standing as a Parish Councillor – The Process
You first need to decide if you are standing as a Councillor on behalf of a political party or as an independent candidate.
- If you are standing via a political party contact the local Party Chairman and they will guide you through the nomination process and handle the completion of your nomination form and candidate consent form. They will also help with the production and distribution of your election literature
- If you are standing as an independent candidate please contact the Parish Clerk (after 25th March) for a nomination & consent form. The Parish Clerk can provide information on the Council wards in which you can stand, guidance notes on how to complete the forms and can review them once completed to ensure they are accurate
- As an independent candidate you will need to produce your own election literature:
- It must bear the name of printer and publisher
- Candidates must account for their expenditure
- Full costs are borne by the individual and are not refunded
- Costs are limited to £806 plus 7p for each elector in the parish/ward in which you choose to stand
- You may be able to reduce your expenditure by sharing printing and distribution costs with other independent candidates. If you are interested in doing so please advise the Parish Clerk when you contact them
The Electoral Commission produce some guides that you may find useful covering topics such as:
- Can you stand for election?
- Standing as an independent candidate
- Standing as a party candidate
- Candidate’s spending form and notes
- The campaign
- Your right to attend key electoral events
- After the declaration of results
Notice of Elections
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Election Results May 2022
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