Become a parish councillor
Detailed information about the role of a parish councillor and guidance on standing for election can be found on the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) website.
Also take a look at the Be a councillor campaign pages.
For current parish council vacancies, see the current casual vacancies on parish councils page.
To stand for election to become a parish councillor you must be:
- At least 18 years old on the day of your nomination, and
- A British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union
You must also 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
- You have 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 your nomination and the day of election
- 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 area
- You have lived in the parish area or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election
Disqualifications from standing
There are certain people who are disqualified from being elected to a parish or community council in England and Wales.
You cannot be a candidate if, at the time of your nomination and on the day of the election, any of the following are true:
- You are employed by the parish council or hold a paid office under the parish/community council (including joint boards or committees),
- You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order,
- You have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before polling day and the ordinary period allowed for making an appeal or applications in respect of the conviction has passed. A person who is in the process of making an appeal or application in relation to the conviction is not disqualified at any time before the end of the day on which the appeal or application is disposed of, abandoned or fails by reason of non-prosecution,
- You have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices). The disqualification for an illegal practice begins from the date the person has been reported guilty by an election court or convicted and lasts for three years. The disqualification for a corrupt practice begins from the date a person has been reported guilty by an election court or convicted and lasts for five years, unless at any time within that period a court determines that the conviction should not be upheld, in which case the disqualification ends at that time,
- You are subject to the notification requirements of or under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and the ordinary period allowed for making an appeal or application in respect of the order or notification has passed. A disqualification set under s.81A of the Local Government Act 1972 will only apply to a person who is subject to any relevant notification requirements or relevant order made on or after 28 June 2022. A person who is in the process of making an appeal or application in relation to the disqualification is not disqualified at any time before the end of the day on which the appeal or application is disposed of, abandoned or fails by reason of non-prosecution,
- A person may also be disqualified from being or becoming a member of certain authorities following a conviction under the Localism Act 2011
The full range of disqualifications is complex and if you are in any doubt about whether you are disqualified, you must do everything you can to check that you are not disqualified before submitting your nomination papers. You must be sure that you are not disqualified as you will be asked to sign one of the required nomination papers to confirm that you are not disqualified. It is a criminal offence to make a false statement on your nomination papers as to your qualification for being elected, so if you are in any doubt you should contact your employer, consult the legislation or, if necessary, take your own independent legal advice. The Returning Officer will not be able to confirm whether or not you are disqualified.
To become a parish councillor by way of co-option
You still have to meet the above criteria. If you do and a vacancy is available for co-option, please contact your parish or town clerk to express your interest. Details of these can be found on our parish council's directory.
There is no set way that a parish council must choose (co-opt) a new member but it is advisable for it to advertise for, interview and then vote a new member on to the council. Whatever the parish council does, it must use an open and transparent process.
View the current casual vacancies on parish councils.
Next parish elections
Further information including Notices of Election can be found on the forthcoming elections page.