Herstmonceux Parish Council

Serving the people of Herstmonceux Parish

Clerk: Clare Harrison
The Parish Office, 4 The Old
Forge, Gardner Street
Herstmonceux, East Sussex
BN27 4LG

Tel: 01323 833312

Parish Council Elections

Councillors are elected by the electors of the Parish (section 16 (2) of the Local Government Act 1972) every four years; or bye-election, co-option, appointment by the district council or by return after a successful election petition.

Detailed information on the role of Chair, Councillor and the Clerk.

Who does what in a Parish Council

Are you passionate about what happens in your local community?

Becoming a Parish Councillor

The Local Government Association have produced this short, informative video about being a Councillor, what it is all about and why such a wide range of people serve on their local Councils

To become a Parish Councillor you must be:

  • At least 18 years old on the day of your nomination, and
  • A British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union

You must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications:

  • You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the parish 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 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 area
  • You have lived in the parish area of within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election

Disqualifications from standing

There are certain people who are disqualified from being elected to a parish or community council in England and Wales.

You cannot be a candidate if at the time of your nomination and on the day of the election, any of the following are true:

  • You are employed by the parish council or hold a paid office under the parish/community council (including joint boards or committees),
  • You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order,
  • You have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before polling day
  • You have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices and offences relating to donations) or under the Audit Commission Act 1998

A person may also be disqualified from election if they have been disqualified from standing for election to a local authority following a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (formerly the Adjudication Panel for England or Wales).

General Power of Competence

The General Power of Competence (Localism Act 2011) offers 'explicit freedom' to eligible Parish Councils to make reasonable, accountable and lawful decisions; undertaking anything that an individual (with full capacity) may do.

Full Council

The Council has the power to carry out authorised functions as vested in the Council by the Local Government Act 1972, (S14.1) through a pre-determined decision-making process.

A Full Council must meet at least 4 times in any one year, one of which must be their Annual Meeting. Herstmonceux Parish Council schedule a Full Council meeting for each calendar month of the year.

Responsible to the parish electorate, the Full Council meeting allows for democratic local leadership. Any decision making is taken to promote the environmental, social and economic well-being of the electorate.

Annual Meeting of the Council v Annual Parish Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Council / Annual Parish Council Meeting

What are the meetings that must be held in spring of each year? There are two quite different meetings that must be held at this time. Firstly, like any other organisation or company, the Council needs to hold an annual meeting to carry out those things that only need doing once a year. These include:

 Electing a Chairman

 Electing a Vice-Chairman (if the council wants to have one)

 Appointing committees

 Appointing representatives to other bodies (e.g. the Village Hall Committee, or School Governing Body)

 Agreeing to subscribe to such bodies as (we hope) the National Association of Local Councils

 Reviewing policy documents such as Risk Management, Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, etc.

Companies, and organisations, usually call their Annual Meeting "the Annual General Meeting". Some councils do, but this can cause confusion with the second meeting, described next. This Guidance Note refers to this Annual Meeting as

Secondly, there is the Annual Parish Meeting.

This is, in legal terms, a quite separate body from the Council, but it is invariably the Council that arranges it (simply because it is unlikely that anyone else will do so). Its decisions are not binding on the Council, though a wise Council will normally want to take heed of what is said at the meeting.

The Annual Parish Meeting or Annual Parish Assembly is open to all electors in the Parish, who have the right not only to attend but also to speak on any matter of local interest. This is in contrast to a Council meeting, where electors who are not Councillors have no automatic right to speak, although Herstmonceux Parish Council do, of course, have a set time on the agenda of each Council meeting when electors can raise matters of concern to them.

This meeting has its own minutes, which should be kept separately from the Council minutes, and these minutes can only be approved by the next Annual Parish Meeting which will, of course, not be held until the following year.

Who chairs the Annual Parish Meeting?

 In a parish with a Local Council, the Chairman of the Council must, if s/he is present, take the chair. If the Chairman is not present, the Vice-chairman of the Council must preside. If the Vice-Chairman is not present, then the Meeting must elect a Chairman, for this meeting only, from amongst the local electors present.

What are the timetables for these two Meetings?

 In an election year, the "old Council" retires on the Monday following the day of elections, when the new Council comes into being. The new Council must hold its Annual (and first) Meeting within a fortnight from that Monday.

 In any other year, the Council must hold its Annual Meeting on any day in May. Herstmonceux Parish Council hold theirs on the 3rd Monday in May.

 The Annual Parish Meeting must be held each year between March 1st and June 1st . Because this is a meeting of a body separate from the Parish Council (see above) the date is not affected by the Parish Council election cycle.