How are parish or town councillors elected?

Most parish elections are held on a four yearly cycle, with elections in 2011, 2015, 2019 and so on. In a warded parish an election is held in each ward, the same way elections are held in district wards and in county electoral divisions.

Skellingthorpe Parish Council has thirteen councillors representing the parish.  They are elected by people who live in the area providing a contested election is held e.g. if thirteen people seek election, there will be an “uncontested” election, which means that there will be no poll and the candidates will be automatically “elected”.  If more people seek election than seats available there will be a “contested” election and a poll will take place.

Ideally, parish councils hope to have more candidates than available seats.  In reality many parish councils have insufficient candidates standing at election.  This means that the remaining seats have to be filled by “co-option”, or in other words the council can choose to appoint a new member of the council rather than the electorate choosing who it elects.

The day-to-day work of a councillor may include:

  • going to meetings of local organisations
  • going to meetings of bodies that affect the wider community, such as the police, the Highways Authority, schools and colleges
  • bringing parishioners concerns to the attention of the council 

Could I be a parish councillor?

As a councillor you can become a voice for your community and affect real change and you need to have the concerns and best interests of the parish as a whole at heart. Councillors are community leaders and should represent the aspirations of the public that they serve.

Parish Councils are the most local part of our democratic system and are closest to the public. Why don’t you stand for your local parish council and see what difference you can make to your local community?

Council meetings are usually held in the evening.