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
Members of the Council, each of equal value, work as a single, democratic body of statute (set up and controlled by Acts of Parliament) to help the Council to make decisions on behalf of the local electorate.
Herstmonceux Parish Council consists of 11 Councillors who serve for a four year term, ending in 2019. The latest elections were held on the 2nd May 2019. All Councillor positions are voluntary.
The Parish Office is located at The Old Forge, 4 Gardner Street, Herstmonceux, BN27 4LG.
Full Council Meetings are usually held on the third Monday of every month at Herstmonceux Village Hall. The Planning Committee usually meets on the first Tuesday of every month. The Finance and General Purposes Committee usually meets on the second Tuesday of every month and the Amenities Committee meet on the fourth Monday of every other month - January, March, May, July, September, November. See the diary of meetings for more information.
For further information relating to the services offered by the Parish Council please contact the Clerk at the Parish Office on 01323 833312 who will be happy to give advice and assistance.
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.
The last Parish Council Elections were held in May 2019. Herstmonceux Parish holds seats for 11 councillors. All seats were filled at the last election with un-contested nominations.
Due to resignations since the election, 8 of our Parish Councilllors remain elected Councillors and 3 seats are now Co-opted onto.
Please see our Casual Vacancy and Co-option Procedures (below) to explain how we recruit a new Councillor other than through an election.
Becoming a Parish Councillor
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).
Should a vacancy arise on the Parish Council, the following procedure will be followed:
Notify the Electoral Services Section that a vacancy has arisen.
Electoral Services will provide the Clerk with a Notice Of Vacancy for display in the Parish/Parish Ward.
The NOV will state why the casual vacancy has arisen. It will also explain that the Rules allow for 10 electors of the Parish/Parish Ward to write to the Returning Officer at Wealden District Council (WDC) to request that vacancy is filled by an election. The 10 signatures/requests have to be received within 14 working days of NOV publication date. The NOV will also state when an election has to take place by, if one is called. If a request from 10 electors is not received within the specified time, then the Parish Council can co-opt to fill vacancy.
Wealden Electoral Services
Electoral Services will notify the Clerk if an election request is received or will confirm if the vacancy can be filled by co-option.
Wealden Electoral Services
a) an election is held; or
Wealden Electoral Services
b) the Parish Council use co-option procedures to fill the vacancy.
If a casual vacancy arises within 6 months before the day on which the councillor whose office is vacant would normally have retired, then the Parish Council may fill the vacancy by co-option or wait until the next ordinary election. A by-election is not held in those circumstances.
The Council will then revert to their Co-option Procedures as found below, ensuring that:
Prospective councillors qualify for membership of the Council under one of the provisions of S 79 of the Local Government Act 1972, i.e.,
a) they are on the electoral register for the Parish;
b) they have owned or rented land in the Parish for twelve months;
c) they have worked in the Parish for twelve months; or
d) they have lived in the Parish or within three miles/4.8 kilometres of the Parish boundary for twelve months.
In addition they should be a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of another Member State of the European Community and have attained the age of 18.
HPC Co-Option Policy (PDF, 64 Kb)
The formally agreed procedures for Co-Opting of new Councillors that Herstmonceux Parish Council abide by.
Herstmonceux Parish Councillors
Councillors are the representation of local community voice, highlighting local issues and contributing to the work of the council by:
- suggesting ideas;
- engaging in constructive debate;
- commenting on proposals to ensure the best outcomes;
- voting to enable the council to make decisions.
Councillors Register (Declarations) of Interest
You can find each Parish Councillor's Declaration of Interest, held within their individual record, on the Wealden District Council website - Councillors' Register of Interests
Any subsequent Declaration of Interest, for example those appertaining to a specific / one off agenda item, will be found within the Parish Council meeting minutes.
Members can claim an allowance to cover the expenses which are normally associated with the basic duties of being a parish councillor. Travelling and subsistence expenses are treated separately.
The level of allowance must be the same for all but the Chairman of the Council.
An independent remuneration panel makes recommendations on the allowance for town and parish councils. This information is held on the Wealden District Council Website Click where the public notice regarding the setting of the town councillors' allowance is held.
The following Parish Councillors claim an allowance:
- Cllr Alder
- Cllr Goodsell
- Cllr Kenward
- Cllr Lee
- Cllr Naish
Code of Conduct
All Council Members have a duty to uphold high standards of behaviour in public life.
Code of Conduct (PDF, 322 Kb)
The code of conduct is an agreed set of rules outlining the norms, rules, and responsibilities of, and or proper practices and expected behaviours for, a councillor.
General Power of Competence
Herstmonceux Parish council confirm and resolve their eligibility for the prescribed conditions for the General Power of Competence at the annual Herstmonceux Parish Full Council Meeting each May.
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.
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 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.
Herstmonceux Parish Council Standing Orders
Standing Orders (PDF, 302 Kb)
Our Standing Orders describe how the council operates including how meetings and the business of the council are conducted.
Herstmonceux Parish Council Financial Regulations
Herstmonceux Parish Council Financial Regulations can be found on our Financial Information Page
Our committees have specific tasks and may have delegated powers.
You can find our policies here.