Town and Parish Councillors are the essence of local democracy and have a vital role in speaking and acting on behalf of the communities they represent.
Councillors are from the local community and represent the views and concerns of those who elect them. They understand local concerns, debate issues within council meetings and use their best judgement to make decisions. They are generally unpaid but some councils approve the payment of expenses incurred whilst on official business.
The role of a Councillor is not just confined to meetings - many are active in other community areas and bring that expertise and knowledge to the council meeting to benefit all.
Councillors are known locally and are often asked for advice or help; it is their responsibility to seek an answer or solution through the council.
Town or Parish Councils must meet at least four times annually (including the annual meeting); many meet more often than this. Some councils have committees or working groups that you can join and contribute to. Being a good and effective Councillor comes with time - you will become familiar with local government procedures and rapidly gain confidence as you take part in meetings.
Town and Parish elections are held every four years - your Council Clerk will advise you on how to submit your nomination papers to enable you to stand as a candidate.
Sometimes casual vacancies occur during the four year cycle and these can be filled, either by election or by co-option. (Co-option is used when an election is not called - you submit your name with other applicants to the Parish Council; they vote for their choice to fill the vacancy.)
No formal qualifications are required to be a Councillor but there are rules to satisfy if you are to submit your name. There is no deposit to pay to stand for election.
All Councillors must agree to abide by a Code of Conduct and to declare any interests which may conflict with their duties as Parish Council members.
How do I get more details about being a Councillor?
Contact your local Council Clerk and ask about any vacancies that they may have advertised.
Or contact the Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) on 01768 812663, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .