• Town and parish councillors are not employees they are democratically elected at “ordinary” elections which are held every 4 years.
  • Town and parish councils are part of Local Government they are not...
    • private members clubs,
    • charities or
    • residents associations.


Article Contents - Click on a link below

What is a parish council casual vacancy and by-election?

How do you remove or dismiss a local, parish or town councillor?

A Councillor has just resigned and I would like to fill his place

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Why do Town and Parish Councillors resign?

How do you recruit a new parish councillor?

How do I resign as a Parish Councillor?

Can a parish councillor resign effective from the end of the month?

Can a parish councillor withdraw their resignation?

Can the Chairman refuse to accept a councillors written resignation?

Is a co-opted parish councillor elected?

Rule of 10, Residents calling an Election


What is a parish council casual vacancy and by-election?

  • A parish council casual vacancy is where a vacancy for a parish councillor arises between elections
  • When this happens there is a clearly defined legal process that must be followed
  • The town or parish clerk must immediately contact the principal authority (A Unitary, District or County Council) so that a by-election can be called to fill the casual vacancy
  • Casual parish council vacancies arise for a variety of reasons including...
    • Death
    • Resignation
    • Failure to complete an acceptance of office declaration
    • Failure to attend meetings for 6 months
    • Legal disbarment
  • If there are no candidates willing to stand for election then the parish council may use a process to co-opt an individual to fill the vacancy
  • Co-option is a detailed process which must then be followed

Click here for more information about co-option...


How do you remove or dismiss a local, parish or town councillor?

  • Town and Parish Councillors are not employees or volunteers they are democratically elected local government representatives
  • A town, parish or local councillor is elected for a 4 year term of office
  • Town and Parish Councils are NOT private members clubs they are part of local government
  • Local councillors are no different to Members of Parliament they cannot just be dismissed
  • Even if a parish councillor moves a long way from their community they are still a parish councillor until the next election
  • They must of course still attend meetings
  • The ballot box is the only usual way that a councillor may be removed


There are however exceptions...

  • A councillor cannot be dismissed they may resign or be disqualified
  • The same is applicable if the councillor is co-opted to fill a casual vacancy
  • Councillors are legally summoned to meetings
  • Failure to attend can result in disqualification
  • There are some other circumstances in which town and parish councillors can be removed but these usually involve decisions by judges in criminal or bankruptcy court cases

If you failed to vote or perhaps did not offer yourself for election to represent your community, you should ask yourself why you feel a town or parish councillor should be removed

Community and electoral apathy may result in unsuitable individuals becoming councillors


A Councillor has just resigned and I would like to fill his place

  • Town and parish councils are not residents associations, community groups, charities or members clubs
  • They are a legally constituted part of local government
  • Councillors are not members of a club but are democratically elected by electors within the parish to represent them
  • When a councillor resigns between ordinary elections (those held every 4 years) this creates what is known as a casual vacancy
  • As with parliament this vacancy calls for a parish by-election
  • The vacancy and the by-election must be advertised within the parish
  • The election process is the responsibility of the principal authority's (Unitary, District or County Council) returning officer
  • Good town and parish councils will promote and advertise the casual vacancy and by-election within the parish
  • Electors may also use the “rule of 10” to call for an election where there is a council vacancy
  • The Parish Clerk must post certain notices with reference to a casual vacancy procedure and if 10 or more local electors demand it there will be a by-election
  • In the absence of a by-election being called, there is best practice procedure for co-opting a Parish Councillor


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