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 approximately 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.
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.
What sort of services does Leighton-Linslade Town Council provide?
Leighton-Linslade Town Council provides the following:
- allotment sites in Leighton Buzzard and Linslade
- numerous play areas across the town
- parks including Parson’s Close Recreation Ground, Page’s Park, Astral Park, Mentmore Park, Linslade Recreation Ground and Adam’s Bottom
- bus shelters
- litter bins and dog bins in the parks
- charter market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, plus visiting markets
- community events including the Linslade Canal Festival, Christmas Weekend and annual Civic Service
- maintenance of the War Memorials
- maintenance of the public conveniences at the West Street multi-storey car park
- Christmas lights in the town centre
- Cemeteries at Vandyke Road and Old Linslade Road
- Sports pitches and pavilion buildings at Page’s Park, Mentmore Park and Astral Park
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 Honorary Burgess scheme. The Town Council also works closely with Bedfordshire Police.
Parish Councils are generally not responsible for: roads, pavements, litter collection, care provision, education, benefits, leisure centres, street lighting.
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.
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 through the Bedfordshire Association for Town and Parish Councillors.
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:
- you are on the electoral roll for the parish
- you have lived in the parish, or within 3 miles of it, for the previous 12 months
- you have occupied any land or premises in the parish for the previous 12 months
- 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).
To find out more about what it means to be a Councillor and some guidance for candidates please take a look at the below documents:
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the Town Clerk:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 01525 631920