What is a Town or Parish Councillor...

Become a Town or Parish Councillor

  • Town and parish councillors are not employees or volunteers
  • They are elected representatives who volunteer their time for free to work on behalf of their communities
  • You do not have to be a member of any political party
  • Good Town and parish councils are concerned with local community matters


Article Contents - Click on a link below

About Town, Parish or Local Councils

Do I have to apply to become a Councillor?

What will you do as a Town or Parish Councillor?

Main Duties and Responsibilities of a Town or Parish Councillor

Who can be a Town or Parish Councillor?

A Subscription and Login is needed to read the following...

What skills will you need as a Town or Parish Councillor

Getting elected to most Town and Parish Councils is not difficult

Getting nominated

Casual vacancies


About Town, Parish or Local Councils

  • Town and Parish Councils are also known as Local Councils.
  • They are not voluntary bodies but a tier of Local Government
  • Local Government comprises
    • County Councils
    • District Councils (Unitary and Borough Councils are part of the District tier of Government) and
    • Town and Parish Councils
  • For all intents and purposes Town and Parish Councils are the same and subject to the same laws of the land
  • There is a common misunderstanding that Parish Councils are part of Church Administration.
  • They are not, they are the civil administration for a small geographic area


Do I have to apply to become a Councillor?

  • No, Town and Parish Councils are part of Local Government and as such the democratic process is at the very heart of these bodies
  • Providing that a councillor vacancy exists you as a registered elector can call for an election
  • Do not be dissuaded by Council claims that this will cost the Council and community money
  • Elections are a democratic right and your Council should have a specific election reserve in its finances to cover this eventuality


What will you do as a Town or Parish Councillor?

  • Engage with the local community and keep up-to-date with issues of local concern
  • Provide a voice for all sections of the community
  • Mediate between individuals and organisation
  • Campaign on behalf of the Council or individuals
  • Manage public funds and seek best value

Please note that the following are indicative and not requirements. There is a legal requirement to attend local council meetings and abide by the code of conduct..


Main Duties and Responsibilities of a Town or Parish Councillor...

  • To participate constructively in the government of the Parish
  • To participate fully in the formation and scrutiny of the Parish Council’s policies, budgets, strategies and service delivery including the ‘Parish Plan’
  • To ensure, with other councillors, that the Parish Council is properly managed
  • To keep up to date with significant developments affecting the Parish Council at local, regional and national levels
  • To be accessible and to represent effectively the interests of the ward for which the Councillor is elected and deal with Parishioners enquiries, representations and complaints
  • To represent the whole electorate; listen, and then represent the views of the whole community when discussing council business and working with outside bodies
  • To take an active part in the Parish Council’s arrangements to build community capacity and promote measures that contribute to the Parish Council’s Vision
  • To attend Parish Council meetings
  • To prepare for meetings and being properly informed about the issues to be discussed
  • To take part in meetings and form sound judgements based on what is best for the community and then abide by majority decisions
  • To represent the Parish Council on outside bodies to which the Councillor is appointed including the Standards Committee and Governing Bodies
  • To maintain proper standards of behaviour as an elected representative of the people
  • To fulfil the statutory and locally determined requirements of an elected member of a Local Authority and the Parish Council, including compliance with all relevant codes of conduct and maintaining high ethical standards, (including not disclosing confidential information and not using council resources for political purposes or for any other reason unless agreed by the Council)
  • To participate effectively as a member of any committee or working party to which the Councillor is appointed
  • To contribute constructively to open government and democratic renewal to actively encourage to the Parish to participate generally in the government of the area and provide access to information where appropriate
  • To uphold the Parish Council’s Standing Orders and ethical standards (ensuring that the impartiality of council staff is not compromised)
  • To produce an annual report to enhance their accountability to the public by providing details of official activities and the contribution made to the effective operation of the Parish Council

Standing for election - the process Click Here...

Registered members click here to download A Parish Councillor Job Description...


Who can be a Town or Parish Councillor?


To be a town or parish councillor 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
  • for the whole of the 12 months prior to nomination you must:
    • have been an elector of the parish and either occupied or owned/rented premises in the parish, or
    • resided within 3 miles of the boundary of the parish, or
    • had your principal or only place of work in that area


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


Please Register, Login or Subscribe to

Read this and all our articles for only £12.00 (inc VAT) Register and Subscribe

Only pay for what you want when you want it

(Subscriptions do not renew automatically, you choose if and when to re-subscribe)

CPALC is open to ALL - Residents, Clerks and Councillors

CPALC is independent and receives...

  • No Government funding
  • No Public money from residents council tax
  • No money from any parish council's precept

CPALC is funded by paid membership subscriptions


CPALC Digital, the mobile resource in your pocket