Every four years Parish Councillors are required to stand down and then, if they wish, stand for re-election; this is when other residents can also stand. The past four year tenure is almost up and during March, April and May 2019 the election process will be followed. Nomination papers will be available from late February/early March and can be obtained from your local Parish Clerk. These have to be hand delivered to West Suffolk Council (WSC) by 4.00pm on 3rd April; no posting, faxing or e-mailing is permitted.
Once the nominations deadline passes, WSC will then assess how many nominations they have received for each Parish Council. If there are the same or fewer nominations as the number of seats, these candidates will automatically be elected without a poll being taken. Where there are more candidates than there are seats, then a poll must be held. For example, within Red Lodge Parish Council there are 9 seats on the Council. If there are 9 or fewer candidates then these people will automatically be elected to office. If there are 10 or more candidates then there will be a poll. Any polls will be held on 2nd May, alongside the District Council elections.
If you are interested in being a Parish Councillor there are eligibility criteria (set by national legislation):
Candidates MUST be over 18 and MUST be either a British or Irish Citizen or a citizen of a member state of the EC (this may change after 29th March!). In addition, Candidates MUST then qualify in one (or more) of the following ways:
Unfortunately, if you are an employee of the Parish Council, subject of bankruptcy orders, have been convicted of a criminal offence in the past 5 years, been imprisoned for not less than 3 months or been found guilty of illegal and corrupt practices, then you are not eligible to stand.
In the event of a ‘Contested Election’ (i.e. where it is necessary to hold a poll) candidates are very welcome to campaign and produce material about themselves to win-over voters. However, there are strict rules around this and any candidate who feels this is necessary should consult their local Parish Clerk for the guidelines.
So, are you up for a challenge? If you are, please feel free to contact the Parish Council Clerk who can give you further information and assistance.