BOUGHTON PARISH COUNCIL

Election 7 th May 2020

What do Parish Councils do?

Parish councils – also called town councils, neighbourhood councils or community councils in some areas are responsible for delivering local services.

What do Parish Councillors do?

Parish Councillors make decisions about policies and services, keep an eye on how well things are working and represent local residents.

How do I become a Parish Councillor?

Most parishes in Northamptonshire have elections in 2020. On this website you can find out if you are eligible to stand for election and how you can apply.

What’s in it for me and my community?

You should consider becoming a Parish Councillor if:

  • You want to do something positive for your community
  • You want to spend your time productively
  • You can think, listen and act locally

What do Parish Councils do?

There are over 10, 000 Parish Councils representing around 16 million people across England. They form the most local level of government and cover many rural and urban areas. Northamptonshire has 213 parishes with councils, plus 51 parish meetings (which do not hold elections). Together they cover almost all the county, with the exception of unparished areas in Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and the centre of Northampton.

Boughton Parish Council has an overall responsibility for the well-being of your local parish. Their
work falls into three main categories:

  • representing the local community
  • delivering services to meet local needs
  • striving to improve the quality of life in the parish

A Parish Council might provide, maintain or contribute to the following services:

  • allotments
  • bus shelters
  • car parks
  • community centres
  • community safety schemes
  • community transport schemes
  • crime reduction measures
  • cycle paths
  • festivals and celebrations
  • leisure facilities
  • litter bins
  • local illuminations
  • local youth projects
  • parks and open spaces
  • planning
  • public lavatories
  • street cleaning
  • street lighting
  • tourism activities
  • traffic calming measures

Boughton Parish Council often works closely with larger councils (Daventry District, Northampton Borough and Northamptonshire County) in your area called ‘principal authorities’ and cooperate to ensure the effective delivery of services to the local community.

What do Parish Councils do?

Parish Councillors are elected to represent a geographical area known as a ward or, mainly in smaller councils, the parish, town, community or neighbourhood council area as a whole. They are elected by people who live in the area.

If the Parish Council is divided into wards an election is held in each ward, the same way elections are held in district or borough wards. If the Council does not have wards there is just a single Parish Council election.

Most Parish Council elections are on the same cycle as the principal authorities, with elections in 2020, 2025, then 2029 and every four years thereafter.

Councillors have three main areas of work:

  • Decision-making: through attending meetings and committees with other elected members, Councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented
  • Monitoring: Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working
  • Getting involved locally: as local representatives, Councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations.  This often depends on what the Councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available

The day-to-day work of a Parish Councillor may include: -

  • Attending meetings of local organisations
  • Attending meetings of bodies that affect the wider community, such as the police, the Highways Authority, schools and colleges
  • Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public, such as making representations to the principal authorities
  • Running a surgery for residents to bring up issues
  • Meeting with individual residents in their own homes

Why should I become a Parish Councillor?

As a Councillor you can become a voice for your community and affect real change. Councillors are community leaders and represent the aspirations of the public that they serve. Parish, town, community and neighbourhood Councillors are the most local part of our democratic system and are closest to the public. By standing for your Parish Council you could make a real difference to your local neighbourhood.

Can I become a Parish Councillor?

Most people can stand for election, however there are a few rules. You must be: -

  • a British citizen, or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Union, and
  • 18 years or older on the day you become nominated for election

You cannot stand for election if you: -

  • are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order
  • have, within five years before the day of the election, been convicted in the United Kingdom of any offence and have had a prison sentence (whether suspended or not) for a period of over three months without the option of a fine
  • work for the council you want to become a councillor for

There are specific rules around candidacy. The full range of disqualifications for candidates is quite complex and some exceptions may apply. Full details can be found on the website of the National Association of Local Councils.

Which Parish Council can I stand for?

You can become a Parish Councillor for any parish in which you are in the list of electors or during the whole of the preceding twelve months you: -

  • occupied land as owner or tenant in it, or
  • had a principal place of work there, or
  • resided in or within three miles of it

How much time will I need to spend?

It is possible to spend a lot of time on council work – but most people have jobs, families and hobbies that also demand a lot of time. However, as with most things, the more you put in, the more you (and your community) will get out.

Boughton Parish Council meets on the second Monday of the month (except for August) at 6.30 p.m. Meetings are held in Boughton Village Hall, Butchers Lane, Boughton. You will be required to attend monthly meetings of the full Council which are normally no more than 2 hours long. You should be well-prepared for meetings and you may put yourself forward for any committees or working parties that the Council has (e.g. finance or planning).

How do I become a Councillor?

To stand for election, you can

  • contact the Parish Council directly Tel: 01604 882527 Email: clerk@boughtonpc.or.uk (Jayne Bunting Clerk to the Council)
  • contact the Returning Officer at Daventry District Council Tel: 01327 871100

Application Process

Now you’re ready to take the next step to becoming a Councillor.

Nomination

A prospective candidate must deliver to the Returning Officer for the election at Daventry District Council a valid nomination paper. This form is obtained as described in the previous section. The candidate’s surname, forenames, residence and description (if required) must be entered and his or her number and prefix letter from the current register of electors. The Returning Officer and the Clerk to Boughton Parish Council has a copy of this register. The nomination paper must also contain similar particulars of a proposer and a seconder. They must be electors for the area for which the candidate seeks election (i.e. the parish, community or town or the ward if it is divided into wards): they must sign it.

Election Timetable

Ordinary elections usually coincide with the election year of the principal council and must be held on the same day. The interval between elections is normally 4 years, but the term of office for the 7 th May 2020 elections will be 5 years to align with Unitary Authority elections in the future.

Find Out More

To find out more about the application process and whether you are eligible to stand for election contact your principal council elections office at Daventry District Council Tel: 01327 871100.

Frequently Asked Questions

What title will I have?

An elected member of a Parish Council is called a Councillor, abbreviated to Cllr. Conventionally you will be known as, for example, “Cllr. Bob Smith” or “Cllr. Mrs Jane Smith”. You can use your title whenever you act, or wish to give the impression of acting, for the Parish Council.

What happens if I stand but am not elected?

As in any contested democratic process there is a risk of not winning. If the number of persons nominated is less than or equal to the number of places available then the election is uncontested and you are automatically elected. If there are more candidates than places and you do not win enough votes on Election Day, then you will have lost the election. Some people may feel awkward about this, particularly as the people voting are quite often your friends, neighbours and community associates, however there is no shame in losing a contested election – it is part and parcel of public life and there will be other opportunities to get onto the Council, either at the next election or, if a vacancy subsequently arises.

What support is there for newly elected Councillors?

Being a Councillor is a respected and valued role in a community. There is lots of support available to Councillors, from training and development courses run by the local County Association of Local Councils, to representation by the National Association of Local Councils, based in London. Councillors would in the first instance seek assistance from fellow colleagues and the council’s Clerk (chief officer). Some Councils have developed one-to-one mentoring schemes or buddy systems, which are a great way to make sure that new Councillors understand their role. The support and continuous professional development of Councillors is open-ended these days.

Can I get out of it if it is not for me?

Yes. You can withdraw your nomination if you decide before the election that you do not want to go through with it (deadline for withdrawal is 4pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020). If you are elected and decide subsequently that council life is not for you then you are free to resign at any time.

Am I personally liable for anything as a Councillor?

No. The Council is a corporate body, which means that in law it has an identity separate to that of its members. Anything that the Council decides to do by resolution is the action of the corporate body and any land, property, leases and other contracts are in the name of the Council. The exception would be in extreme cases of negligence where an individual Councillor has acted contrary to Council policy, which may lead to personal liability.

Will my employer support me if I need time off for Council business in work time?

Yes. You are allowed reasonable time off to go to meetings or to carry out your duties. The time must be agreed with your employer beforehand and your employer can refuse your request if it is unreasonable. A specific amount of time off is not laid down in law. Your employer does not have to pay you while you take time off for public duties, although many do. Your employment contract will normally say whether you are paid for this time off.