Becoming a Parish Councillor

Thinking of becoming a Parish Councillor?

What is a Parish Council?
Newport Parish Council is the local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish of Newport.
It is the level of local government closest to the community.

Why become a Parish Councillor?
By becoming a parish councillor you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support – a community leader with the power to influence decisions for the benefit of the people you serve.

What decisions do Parish Councils make?
Newport Parish Council make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community.
Parish councils have limited powers to make decisions but they do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the district or county council, health authorities, police etc.). In this respect parish councils are extremely powerful. The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something and its views will be taken seriously.

How much time does it take up?
Newport Parish Council meets once on the second Tuesday of every month for the council meeting to which members of the public are also invited. Meetings may last two or three hours, depending on what’s on the list of items to discuss. We also have working groups to deal with specific subjects, such as highways or environment.
In addition to the regular meetings Councillors are required to give time for ‘ad hoc’ meetings – for example with architects or agents to discuss planning applications that the council must give its opinions on.

How long does a Parish Councillor serve for?
Once elected, parish councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years. If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election.
This does not mean that you have to stay for four years. If you find it’s not for you, or you can no longer meet the commitment, you can stand down.

Am I eligible to be a Parish Councillor?
To stand for election on a parish council, you must:
a British citizen, or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Union, and be at least 18 years old.
To be eligible to stand for an election for a particular parish, you must:
in the past 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish; or
work in the parish (as your principal or only place of work); or
live within three miles of the parish boundary.

You cannot be a Parish Councillor 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.

You don’t have to be connected to a political party. Newport Parish Council is inclusive and not a Council that is defined by party politics.
If you do become a parish councillor you will have to sign up to the Code of Conduct.

More information on eligibility here

Are you interested in becoming a Parish Councillor?
The best way to find out what it’s like to be a parish councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now. Come along to a parish council meeting, speak to one of the councillors and find out what they think of the job.
For more information please contact the Newport Parish Council using the Contact Us section of this website.

Further reading on being a Parish Councillor can be downloaded:
The Good Councillors Guide