Have you ever considered volunteering to become a Parish Councillor? If the answer is no, then you should reconsider. The Parish Council plays a vital role within Yelvertoft. The Parish Council works towards keeping the Parish an attractive place to live and can influence the future of the area.
Here are a few reasons why you should give the role your consideration:
- You would like to help keep the Parish a desirable place to live
- If you’re female or under 25 then have a good think, as women and youngsters are under-represented in local authorities
- You are interested in planning and development
- Be a voice for the people of the Parish
- Training and support are available
- As a resident your opinions are important
What is a Parish Council?
A parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish. As it is the authority closest to the people, a 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.
Why become a Parish Councillor?
As a parish councillor you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support. A member of the community with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the parish. Seeing your community change for the better, as a result of decisions you have helped to make, is something that can give you a sense of achievement and pride. Yelvertoft is an area with a rich history and preservation of the area is of great importance. The Parish Council helps to ensure the area continues to be a desirable place to live, go to school, work and visit.
What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect their local community. Probably the most common topics that parish councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), highways issues and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities. It’s true to say that on their own, parish councils have limited powers to make decisions, but they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions such as Daventry District Council, Northamptonshire County Council and developers. In this respect parish councils are extremely powerful. The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.
How much time does it take up?
The Parish Council holds a meeting once a month to which members of the public are also invited. Meetings usually last three hours, depending on the agenda set for the meeting to discuss. In addition to the regular meetings, councillors are occasionally required to attend other meetings representing the Council. Such meetings won’t happen too frequently, so it’s not going to take over your life.
Am I eligible to be a Parish Councillor?
To stand for election on 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.
To be eligible to stand for an election for a particular parish, you must:
- be an elector of the parish, or;
- for the whole of the previous 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish, or;
- during the previous 12 months have worked in the parish (as your principal or only place of work), or;
- for the whole of the previous 12 months lived in the parish or within three miles of the parish boundary.
What support is there?
The Parish Council is supported by the Northants Local Councils Association (NCALC), which offers advice and training. The other councillors are friendly and always there to help. The role of the Parish Clerk is to support the Parish Council in several ways. The clerk carries out administration tasks, acts as legal adviser/researcher and liaises with outside agencies. The role of parish councillor is voluntary but expenses can be paid. We always have a training budget for Councillors to attend any training course they require to carry out their duties.
Don’t take our word for it!
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. Come along to a Parish Council meeting, or speak to one of our councillors and find out what they think of the role, or contact the Clerk.