Author Topic: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....  (Read 716 times)

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Russell Brown

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you'll have noticed that there's an election coming along on the 7th of May.

As well as 'that lot in Westminster', there might be an election for the Kings Cliffe Parish Council on the same day.

Why 'might be'?  Well, as I understand it, several of the current councillors will not be seeking re-election having served their time (for which everyone owes them a vote of thanks).  If there are only eleven, or fewer, nominations then there won't be an election for the PC...  which would not be a Good Thing for local democracy.

So...  there's a need for some new blood and you're thinking about standing...

First off, 'Well Done' for considering it.  While it's a totally unpaid position, being a member of the PC does have it's rewards in that you can play a part in championing, maintaining and improving the village for the benefit of everyone.

It also has it's downsides in that by doing stuff you leave yourself open to criticism but that's unfortunately normal in any community :(

Details of who can stand are covered later in this post but perhaps it's useful to outline what the PC does.

There are a few statutory duties and rather than retype them, there is a useful website here that provides a list.

As well as these duties, there are other issues that crop up from time to time; some of which the PC can deal with and some that are outside it's powers (folk do tend to have an inflated notion of the actual powers a PC has at its disposal).

Cherry picking some issues on which the PC has been effective since 2010 (my only direct experience) I would include the launch of the PC website and Village Forum, the childrens play area on Sovereign Grange, production of the Village Plan (which over the next term will hopefully evolve into a Neighbourhood Plan that has some legal teeth in respect to planning law), providing financial support to Underground, getting Gigaclear installed (without which Kings Cliffe would be left in the 5% of rural communities without decent Internet service), getting the County Council to enforce the Section 106 agreement for Sovereign Grange which resulted in a 750,000 contribution for the Schools, coordinated the horsewater renovation, got road drainage installed in Hall Yard, commenced planning for an access to the new school from Kingsmead, improved footpath access, obtaining 100,000 funding for the Village Field project and a miriad of other 'minor' issues.

Oh... and we kept the street lights on (unlike many other councils) :)

That's not a bad list.

We have not, as yet, been so successful in some long running matters; such as the Traffic Calming in Wood Road, but the PC has not let these drop and is quite happy to poke and prod the relevant authorities into delivering what's due to Kings Cliffe.  I do know for a fact that the profile of Kings Cliffe has been raised at both District and County level over the past five years; both Councils are now fully aware that they can't ignore us just because we're on the border of their territory.

How much time is involved?

There are monthly meetings; 19:30 to 21:00(ish) on the second Thursday of each month.  The meetings, while structured, are not overly formal or stuffy - think more 'Vicar of Dibley' than House of Commons Select Committee :)

As well as the monthly meetings there is activity by Councillors in different areas at different times.

Some are ongoing (like the Burial Board that runs the cemeteries) or the Village/Neighbourhood Plan. Other activities are shorter term, normally tied into a project or a specific issue, and addressed by individuals or groups of councillors sanctioned by the PC.

Not every Councillor is involved in everything, individuals having their own skills, perspectives, capabilities and interests, but that's part of what can make a PC work well together.

Can I and how do I stand?

In order to stand for the PC you need to be:
  • Over 18 years of age.
  • A UK, Commonwealth or EU citizen.
  • Be a registered elector in the Parish or occupy land/premises in the Parish for the whole of the last 12 months or work within the Parish or live within 3 miles of the Parish Boundary.

All the above (and more) is covered on the Electoral Commission website here.

You will not be surprised that there are some forms to fill in (nothing complicated) and copies are available here.

Now despite it being the 21st century the nomination papers MUST be hand delivered by yourself or your nominate agent(!) to East Northamptonshire District Council in Thrapston no later than 4pm on Thursday the 9th of April. That's not too far away so don't hang about.

The 'Election' department suggest that you ring beforehand (01832 742155) and make an appointment so your form can be checked prior to submission....  but if you're confident you've completed it correctly then you can drop it in to the receptionist at ENC's Thrapston Council offices at any time they're open.

One thing you will need to verify is the electoral role numbers for yourself, your proposer and seconder.  Don't rely on old information as these have been known to change.  Ring ENC (01832 742155) to check.

Hmmm.... that was all a bit longer than I originally planned but I hope that it's been of some use.

I look forward to seeing some new faces at the first PC meeting post the election.
« Last Edit: 23 Mar 2015, 19:02:52 by Russell Brown »

Russell Brown

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Re: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....
« Reply #1 Posted: 17 Apr 2015, 10:05:27 »
Ho Hum.  Only nine people put themselves forward for the PC so there won't be an election and the Council will have to press gang another couple of folk (interested parties please make yourselves known).

IMNSHO it's a bit of a kick in the teeth for local democracy (or, as someone opined, a vote of confidence in the PC!).

HilaryB

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Re: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....
« Reply #2 Posted: 20 Apr 2015, 16:52:46 »
Russell - you can now honestly give as good as you get when the moaners start again!  There are many who vocalise, but few who volunteer!

rochja

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Re: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....
« Reply #3 Posted: 21 Apr 2015, 13:00:04 »
Russell. I have no experience but I will step up to the plate if you want.
[01780] 470043

Roy

Russell Brown

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Re: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....
« Reply #4 Posted: 25 Apr 2015, 10:10:11 »
Well done that man. Nobody's experienced the first time around :)

I'll give you a ring to discuss.

TeePee

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Re: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....
« Reply #5 Posted: 25 Apr 2015, 15:13:42 »
... and 'Nominations' closed on... ?

mgd

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Re: So you're thinking about standing for the Parish Council....
« Reply #6 Posted: 25 Apr 2015, 18:47:42 »
I think this is the process
The present PC is in place until May 11th after that date,  notices will be published to announce that there are not enough nominations to the PC, so if you wish to put your name forward to be considered a PC that will the time to do it.
If more than 4 parishioners put their name down the PC can chose who they wish to be on the PC. But life is never that simple if there are more than 4 nominations there will have to be a notice published asking the parish if they wish there to be an election to choose those to be on the PC, if more than 10 parishioners ask for one there will be another election.