Thinking of becoming a Councillor?

3rd March 2017 / News archive

All town and parish councils are made up a number of Councillors who meet regularly to make decisions on the work and direction of the council. As elected bodies, local councils are responsible to the people they represent – the local community.

As a Councillor you can become a voice for your community and effect real change. Councillors are community leaders and represent the aspirations of the public that they serve. Parish, town, community and neighbourhood Councillors are the most local part of our democratic system and are closest to the public.

 Am I qualified?

To be able to stand as a candidate at a parish council election in England or a community council election in Wales you must:

– Be at least 18 years old or older on the day you become nominated for election.
– Be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union, and meet at least one of four qualifications:
–  You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the parish/community in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards.
–  You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish/community area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
–  Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the parish/community area.
– You have lived in the parish/community area or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.

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

Full details can be found on the website of the National Association of Local Councils

As a Councillor you have a responsibility to:
–  attend meetings when summoned to do so; the notice to attend a council meeting is, in law, a summons, because you have a duty to attend
–  consider, in advance of the meeting, the agenda and any related documents which were sent to you with the summons
–  take part in meetings and consider all the relevant facts and issues on matters which require a decision including the views of others expressed at the meeting
–  take part in voting and respect decisions made by the majority of those present and voting
–  ensure, with other Councillors, that the council is properly managed
–  represent the whole electorate, and not just those who voted for you


What do local Councillors do?

Councillors have three main areas of work:
1. Decision-making: through attending meetings and committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
2. Monitoring: Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
3. Getting involved locally: as local representatives, Councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. This often depends on what the Councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available.

How much time does it take up?

Quite often Councillors say that their duties occupy them for about three hours a week. Obviously there are some Councillors who spend more time than this – and some less, but in the main, being a local Councillor is an enjoyable way of contributing to your community and helping to make it a better place to live and work.



Council meetings are important; this is where you play your part as a decision maker. The chairman is in charge of the meeting, and the clerk (or perhaps a deputy) supports the council as it discusses business.The meeting is the council team in action.
Council meetings and committee meetings are formal events, not social occasions. They have a clear purpose – to make decisions – and are not just talking shops. Furthermore, they are public events; the meetings must be advertised and the press and public have a right to observe, record and report on how the council operates. The same approach should be adopted for sub-committees. Exceptions are when sensitive issues are discussed (such as legal, contractual or staffing matters) and then the council can agree to exclude the press and public for just that item of business.


Will I get paid?

Chippenham Town Council is one of only one other Town/Parish Councils in Wiltshire to pay an allowance for expenses which is subject to tax and national insurance.
(please note co-opted Councillors do not receive expenses only directly elected Councillors)


Election timetable

Publication of Notice of Election: 15 March 2017 (i.e. by Monday 27 March 2017)
Deadline for Receipt of Nominations: 4pm Tuesday 4 April 2017
Deadline for Withdrawal of Candidate: 4pm Tuesday 4 April 2017
Deadline for Appointment of Election Agents: 4pm Tuesday 4 April 2017
Publication of Statement of Persons nominated: 4pm Wednesday 5 April 2017
Last Date to Register to Vote: Thursday 13 April 2017
Deadline to cancel or amend existing postal or proxy arrangements: 5pm Tuesday 18 April 2017
Deadline for Receipt of New Postal Vote Applications: 5pm Tuesday 18 April 2017
Publication of Notice of Poll: Tuesday 25 April 2017
Deadline for Receipt of Proxy Vote Applications: 5pm Tuesday 25 April 2017
Deadline for Appointment of Poll and Count Agents:  Wednesday 26 April 2017
First Day to Issue Replacement Lost Postal Ballot Papers: Thursday 27 April 2017
Opening of Postal Votes: Wednesday 3 May 2017
Supplementary Postal Vote Opening: Thursday 4 May 2017
Day of Poll: 7am to 10pm Thursday 4 May 2017
Deadline for Receipt of Emergency Proxy Vote Applications: 5pm Thursday 4 May 2017
Last Day to Issue Replacement Spoilt or Lost Postal Ballot Papers: 5pm Thursday 4 May 2017
Declaration of Candidates Expenses: Thursday 1 June 2017


Wiltshire Council will call the local elections and issue calling notice to our Interim Chief Executive Adrian Jones for display in the parish. These will be displayed prominently in public areas and on the council’s website, to encourage people to stand for election. We will have nomination packs which can be collected from the Town Hall.

Would you like some more information?

For more information from Wiltshire Council, please visit their website HERE

The National Association of Local Councils is the national representative body for parish and town councils in England. Elections advice and resources are available on its website at

The Electoral Commission (www. is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Their aim is integrity and public confidence in the democratic process.

There is also lots of information on the Local Government Association website including The Good Councillors Guide which you can access HERE


Wednesday 10 May 2017 at 6.30pm in the Town Hall, Chippenham
A training session with the Manager of the Wiltshire Association of Local Councils (WALC) has been arranged for new Councillors of Chippenham Town Council post the election on 4 May 2017.

Katie Fielding, County Secretary of WALC, will guide new Councillors through the following topics which might include:

• The role of a Councillor and other key roles within a council
• The powers of a parish council
• Local Council Administration
• Law and procedures and how they impact on the parish council
• Local government finance
• Community engagement
• The Planning System
• …… And many more

This session is available to new Councillors who have successfully been elected as a ward Councillor for Chippenham Town Council.

The outcome of the election will only be known on 5 May 2017 and so it is essential that new Councillors are aware of this training and register their place on the course immediately after the election.

To reserve you place after 5 May, please contact:
Charlotte Starkie, Head of Finance and Administration, Chippenham Town Council
Telephone: 01249 446699