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So, you think you may be interested in becoming a Town Councillor……?

Please read on for some outline information which may help you decide whether to stand as a candidate to join the Town Council.

What are parish councils?

Town and Parish Councils are the first tier of local government. There are over 9,000 parish councils throughout England, in both towns and rural areas, representing around 16 million people.  Parish councils represent the interests of their local communities, provide local services and work to improve the quality of life in the parish.  Parish councils may use only those specific legal powers or duties assigned to them, although some councils including LLTC have the “power of general competence” which provides greater scope to undertake additional services or projects.

Leighton-Linslade Town Council is comprised of 21 Councillors and approximately 40 members of staff, headed by the Town Clerk.  Each Council term is four years.  Currently, we have 8 electoral wards within the parish; this will change to 9 from May 2023.  You can see the list of streets and wards here.

In addition, the Town Council works in partnership with many local organisations and with the local authority, Central Bedfordshire Council.  We review and comment on planning applications within the parish, distribute community grants to local organisations and charities and seek to recognise exceptional local voluntary service through the Community Volunteer Awards scheme. The Town Council also works closely with Bedfordshire Police.

Parish Councils are generally not responsible for the following matters for which they do not have legal powers or duties: roads, pavements, litter collection, care provision, education, benefits, leisure centres, street lighting.

Find out more about what the Town Council and Central Bedfordshire Council are responsible for below.  You can find out more about CBC, its three wards in the Leighton-Linslade parish and its responsibilities on its website.

Would you like to find out more about Town Council Finances and objectives?

You can find out more about becoming a Councillor on the Electoral Commission website, the Central Bedfordshire Council website or on the NALC website


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How do Parish Councils make decisions?

The Council meets in full several times per year, on a Monday evening. Several Committees and Sub-Committees meet more frequently to review projects and make decisions. The majority of meetings are held in the evening, so that Councillors who also work are able to attend. Town Council officers provide information at meetings to facilitate discussion and enable Members to make an informed decision. All meetings are open to the public.

Where does the Parish Council’s money come from?

Each January the Town Council approves a budget for the following year and determines how much should be collected from householders as part of their council tax (the “precept”).  The Town Council derives a small income from its services and facilities and also seeks to subsidise the cost of local projects through grants, wherever possible.

Do Parish Councillors get paid?

No. Parish Councillors are volunteers who want to represent their local community and help improve local services.  Councillors may be able to claim for certain expenses such as mileage.

The Chairman of the Council (known as the Town Mayor) does receive an allowance to assist with costs for undertaking Mayoral duties both within and outside the parish, as well as to support charity fundraising activities.

Is support and training available?

Yes. Town Council officers will undertake an initial induction programme with new councillors and are always available to offer help and support. Specific training for councillors is delivered mainly through the National Association of Local Councils or the Bedfordshire Association.

Am I eligible to stand as a parish councillor?

Yes, if you are a British, Commonwealth or European citizen aged 18 or over and meet any one of the following criteria:

  1. you are on the electoral roll for the parish
  2. you have lived in the parish, or within 3 miles of it, for the previous 12 months
  3. you have occupied any land or premises in the parish for the previous 12 months
  4. your main place of work is within the parish

How are parish councillors appointed?

Parish Councillors are generally appointed at local council elections, held every four years.

Alternatively, if there is a casual vacancy during the four year term, a councillor may be co-opted to join the Council (see Co-option procedure)

What happens next, key dates:

The next scheduled Central Bedfordshire ward and parish elections will be on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Find out more: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/elections.

  • 4 March – Nomination papers issued.  Nomination papers for the town council wards are available at the White House, Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard or by requesting them from Central Bedfordshire Council.
  • 14 March – Start of receipt of Nomination papers
  • 4 April – Close of nominations (4pm)
  • 7/10 April – Delivery of Poll cards
  • 11 April – Issue of Postal Votes (CBC)
  • 18 April – Issue of Postal Votes (Parish)
  • 4 May – elections
  • 5 May – Count
  • 16 June – Declaration of Candidates Expenses (including NIL returns)

New town councillors will take office from Wednesday, 10 May.  

New councillor induction training

We hope to welcome newly elected town councillors to one of the following introduction sessions:

Wednesday 10 May        2:00pm – 4:00pm  or 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Friday 12 May                    10:00am – 12:00pm

This session is designed to be a basic introduction/overview for brand new councillors, or councillors returning after a break in office.

Acceptance of Office & collection of equipment/paperwork

Newly elected town councillors are welcome to come in to the White House between 9:00am – 4:00pm on 10, 11, 12 or 15 May to sign their declaration of acceptance of office, which must be witnessed by the Town Clerk, as well as to collect their equipment and paperwork.

Alternative options are:  6:00pm – 8:00pm on Thursday 11 May and 9:30am – 11:30am on Saturday 13 May.

Please note all councillors must have signed their declaration prior to the commencement of the Annual Council Meeting on 15 May.

 Council Annual Meeting

The first meeting of the new administration will take place on Monday, 15 May at 19:30 hours at the Astral Park Sports & Community Centre, Johnson Drive, Leighton Buzzard LU7 4AY. The first order of business must be election of a Chairperson (Town Mayor) for 2023-24. The full meeting agenda will be published on our website and paper copies can be collected/delivered. Training will include how to access meeting documents electronically via O365 accounts.

The current anticipated calendar of meetings for future meeting dates can be found on the town council website.

Further induction and training

At each first meeting of all committees and sub-groups, an introduction will be given to the remit, work plan and budget of that group.

Following appointment of Chairs to committees and sub-groups, Chairmanship training will be offered.

Support in the use of equipment and O365 will be available through the White House and the Council’s I.T. provider.

Training in data protection, communications and social media will be given by Breakthrough Communications.

We look forward to welcoming the new Council administration for 2023 – 2027.