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 five seats on the Council, so if more than five people stand, there will be a ballot and the five 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 South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire 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 Waterperry with Thomley Parish 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 Waterperry with Thomley Parish Clerk, Lawrence Wootten
Hove Cottage, 7 Waterperry, Oxford OX33 1LD 07808 761710
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
All the information about standing in the Parish Council elections is available on the Electoral Commission Website at https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/candidate-or-agent/parish-council-elections-england