About Parish Councils
Parish councils were formed in England under the Local Government Act 1894 to take over local oversight of civic duties in rural towns and villages. Before this date a variety of groups based around ecclesiastical parishes had responsibility for these matters, in a system of local government that originated in the feudal system of the 8th century. Parish and town (local) councils are the first tier of local government. There are around 10,000 local councils in England and Wales, made up of nearly 100,000 councillors.
Elections and membership
The term of office of a parish councillor is four years, and councils are elected en bloc. The legislation provides that the number of elected members of a parish council shall not be less than five. In the case of Braughing, the required number is seven.
The timing of the election cycle is linked to that of the election of a District Councillor for the ward containing the parish.
Where there are an equal number or fewer candidates than there
are vacancies, all candidates are elected unopposed, and no poll is
taken. Where there are fewer candidates than vacant seats, the parish
council has the duty to coopt any person or persons to fill the
vacancies. This power, however, may only be exercised if there is a
quorum of councillors present and within 35 days of the election. If the
parish council fails to fill the vacancies within this period, the
district council may dissolve it and order fresh elections.
Where there are more candidates than vacancies, a poll must be held.
Where a vacancy occurs during the term of a parish council, it may be filled by either election or co-option. Elections only occur if, following the advertisement of the vacancy for 14 days, 10 electors send a written request to the returning officer. If no request is received, the parish council will be required to fill the vacancies by co-option. If the number of vacancies on the parish council is such that there is no longer a quorum, the district council may temporarily appoint persons to bring the council up to strength in the interval prior to an election
Register of Interests
All newly elected and co-opted parish councillors are required to complete a written declaration of interests as prescribed within 28 days and submitted to the clerk to the parish council, who maintains a register of interests. It is the responsibility of all councillors to ensure their declared interests remain up to date.
Proceedings of Parish Council Meetings
The proceedings of Parish Council meetings and the general business of the Parish Council is conducted in accordance with Parish Council Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.
Freedom of information
Braughing Parish Council complies with the Freedom of Information act 2000.