Every four years, Parish Councils are required to hold an election for membership of the Council. This is the village’s opportunity to make changes, should they wish, to how the Parish Council is run.
Following last year’s Community Governance Review which changed the Parish boundaries, the term of office will be for five years rather than the usual four.
The Council is a constantly changing body of people; once elected, Parish Councillors can usually sit on the Council for a maximum of four years (although, as we say, this time it will be for five). If they then want to stay in the post they must stand for re-election. Villagers are actively encouraged to apply to join the Parish Council, and it is always good to welcome new members. Ideally, all age groups and a wide demographic should be represented on a Council and we’ve been lucky enough to have this in the past. There are seven seats on the Council, so if more than seven people stand, there will be a ballot and the seven candidates with the most votes get elected.
A Parish Council is the local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the Parish and makes representations on their behalf to other bodies (eg on planning matters). It is the level of government closest to the community, with North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council above it. As it is the authority closest to the people, the Parish Council is invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas. For this reason, it is a vital part of any community.
Who can become a Parish Councillor?
Any resident of Stibbard who:
has occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of nomination and the day of election;
is at least 18 years old;
is a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union (this hasn’t changed!).
Also, you’d need to meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
you are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the Parish in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards;
your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the parish/community area;
you have lived in the Parish or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election;
you have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
What do Parish Councils do?
Parish Councils make all kinds of decisions and make representations to other local and national bodies, on issues that affect the local community: from working on the Parish Hall project, liaising with the Police and other services, liaising with the East West Rail team, creating an emergency plan, arranging the mowing of the road verges, managing some of the open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities, to commenting on planning applications and representing the Parish in meetings with assorted external bodies, working with the County Council on traffic matters and engaging with other local Parish Councils on matters that affect us all.
There are limited powers to make decisions, but Parish Councils do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions.
For more information and a nomination form:
Please contact the Parish Clerk, Nea Horsford
The Good Councillors Guide is a really good introduction to the work of Parish Councils
And the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has also produced a booklet All About Parish Councils
Timetable for elections 2023
The Role of a Councillor
They are elected to represent the interest of the local community as a whole and promote a harmonious local environment. The number of elected Councillors depends on the size of the area, in Stibbard we are able to have 7 Councillors.
Local Councils are the first tier of governance and are the first point of contact for anyone concerned with a community issue. They are democratically elected local authorities and exist in England, Wales and Scotland. The term 'Local Council' is synonymous with ' Parish Council, 'Town Council' and 'Community Council'.
Local Councils are made up of locally elected Councillors. They are legally obliged to hold at least four meetings a year. Most meet on a monthly cycle to discuss council business and hear from local residents. District and County Councillors regularly attend parish meetings and report at the Annual Parish meeting. Councillors are expected to attend meetings on a regular basis.
Councillors must abide by a Code of Conduct, a set of rules on how Councillors are expected to behave. They must also declare their financial interests in the parish, details of which are kept by the District Council.