Parish Council(15 Posts)
A simple politics question I hope! I have just been to my local parish council meeting and it is the least diverse group of people I have ever met. All are over late 50s (50% over 65). Consequently, all actions are not innovative and do not take into account the wider community at all. Is this easily changed? Are Parish Councilllors elected?
Elected or co-opted- if there are vacancies.
I was co-opted on and became a parish councillor last year- I'm 34 and really enjoy it. We are lucky that our parish now has a good range of people from all different working backgrounds and ages (the youngest is 32 and eldest in their 70's) people that have lived in the village decades and some newbies too.
Definitely worth thinking about getting involved op i find it rewarding and very interesting.
Yes they are elected for set terms. I was voted on about 12 years ago and served one term before moving house.
The councillors queried how, as a young working person, I would be able to make the day time sub-committee meetings. It took some time to convince them to move some things to the evening!
They should advertise vacancies when a term is up.
Sounds like ours. There are 3-4 men aged 40-50 and then the rest are all over 50. Majority male.
Each parish councillor holds office for a term of four years and then needs to be re elected.
Why not stand yourself? Learn the rules and how they work first and a bit of local networking to get people on board to support and vote for you.
Most parish councils in England are the same sort of make up as the one you have been to today. I've met some very helpful parish councillors who genuinely care for their community and many others who love the little bit of authority that they think they have, and don't like change.
I don't usually like wiki for a link but this info is a good start.
You go for it!
My husband is a parish councillor probably one of the younger ones he's 48 he was elected into the role. The majority of the people on the parish council are older retired folk with plenty of time on the hands. Unlike my husband who has a full time job and a family and is also a county councillor. Not a lot of time left over to do anything else. That is probably the reason most parish councillors are older.
It's changeable at election time, every four years. Anyone can put themselves forward for election provided they meet the criteria, which are along the lines of be on the electoral roll, live or work within the parish area or not far from it. Generally they are not politically motivated, so quite easy to be elected as an independent.
Generally things don't happen quickly. E.g. In my area, I joined the parish council in 1999 with a view to getting the local playgrounds sorted out - all were old and tired and my girls were 4 and 5 at the time so they used them a lot. I didn't have much success persuading my fellow councillors this was a good idea. Mainly old men. Lost my seat at the next election. Got elected back on in 2011 as so frustrated by the sitting councillors inability to make any decisions. Stood with a group of others all for the same political party (even though it's hard to get political over playgrounds and open spaces), but voters knew what we stood for and we could put out a joint leaflet and deliver it to voters more easily. Now we have got all bar one of our playgrounds replaced and upgraded. The final one will be done next year. Just a shame my own children didn't benefit at the time, but hey ho. I'm now in my mid 50's....
I thought they were elected. They're usually types straight out of a Joanna Trollope novel. Not that I've read one but that's what I think. Very set in their ways and not open to change.
Why don't you speak to the clerk and see if there any are vacancies on the parish at the moment you could be co-opted on at the next meeting? I'm glad I joined from a personal perspective I've been able to push for a speed reduction in our village that many parents desperately wanted so I'm really pleased that will be happening soon.
Our village PC sounds similar, but they really struggle to get new councillors. There are a few of them in their 70's/80's who want to retire, but don't feel they can as there are already vacancies which no one wants to fill. There's a flurry of interest when something happens, like the proposed closure of a library or post office when loads of people get involved with petitions etc., but once it's over, the PC meetings are back to tumbleweed. They have evening meetings so it's not that people are busy during the day. I think it's more that people aren't interested in the formality/burden.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
A neighbour who was a former councillor suggested I might like to be a parish councillor in my small rural parish and I attended a meeting at their invitation. This was 25 years ago. I was shocked. They spoke about not wanting any housing (they were asked to identify a possible housing association site) because younger people should move out and be near their jobs! They were utterly appalling and, frankly, dismissive of any initiative. I definitely had second thoughts about joining them.
Before I had made my mind up, I received a letter from the Clerk saying that, as I worked, and was expecting a baby, they didn’t think I could manage the workload and they had found someone else.
Move forward 20 years. I had another go. Two vacancies were advertised. I applied. They then announced via the Parish magazine that one new Councillor had already been co-opted to one of the vacancies but two people (me and another candidate) were being considered for the second vacancy. I wrote to them and withdrew. They should have considered all three of us equally, at the same time, for the two vacancies. Appointing one in advance seemed like favouritism and they knew this person. The two they didn’t know had to have an interview etc. It’s very poorly run and an old boys club.
They had a professional clerk at the time and it was all done behind her back. I spoke to her about the co-option mess and she actually asked me if I really wanted to join them because I would be doing myself a favour if I didn’t. A few weeks later it was reported that they had removed her from her post and appointed another old man as clerk.
You may wish to consider if her advice to me might apply to you.
They are elected or co-opted and can be a force for good. They have some powers and can be very community minded. Ours is still a farce. They spend a lot of time chasing up the County or the District Council and are not remotely proactive about what they have the power to do themselves. In a way they are quite lazy and only partially understand their role. They are also opaque wth a very poor web site with little info on it about what they do. Probably because it’s very little.
I was a parish councillor for 3 years in my early 30s. It was the least rewarding time of my life. I was fighting a losing battle against a bunch of old men who wanted to resist change at any costs. Toothless dinosaurs the lot of them
I wouldn't get too excited about it, they have hardly any powers. if you really want to give up free time to talk about the mowing of public spaces, observations on planning applications(no power to approve or veto) and stuff like the siting of a notice board or the state of the bus shelter go ahead. I think this is why it is mainly older people with a lot of time on their hands. I have found being a charity trustee and a board member of a trade organisation more useful routes to being able to make a difference. Being a District Councillor is really the lowest level of government where there is a real role and it is possible to be an instrument of change.
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