Harlestone Manor Parish Council currently has vacancies for new councillors. Everyone is welcome and no experience is needed. Parish councillors represent the people living in their local area – they are just ordinary people, like you and me. We are keen to promote diversity and inclusion in our council and would be pleased to hear from as wide a range of applicants as possible. If you have a passion for your community and a little time to spare each week, we would love to hear from you.
Want to find out more about what being a councillor involves? Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that might help.
Why should I become a councillor?
- To help make decisions on important matters affecting where you live
- To get involved in running local services including open spaces, play areas, NHW and many other local projects
- To participate in the approval of planning applications and other planning initiatives
- To have a say in how the parish council precept is spent
- To get something done that you think needs doing
- It looks great on your CV or next job application
You will also make some new friends and have fun in the process!
What do Parish Councils do?
Parish Councils are the voice of their community. They have a variety of powers and duties to help maintain services and improve quality of life for residents. The parish council has a remit for managing local amenities and services, including burial grounds, bus shelters, lighting, parking places, new roads and road widening, litter, planning, recreational facilities, signs, traffic calming and war memorials, to name but a few. The Parish Council also sets a precept (sum of money) each year which is collected from all residents through the Council Tax system.
What do Parish Councillors do?
Parish councillors are volunteers who take on the role of leaders in their community. They help make decisions on how money is spent locally, and they take part in projects for the benefit of those who live and work in the parish. Councillors represent the people living in their local area and by networking with the people around them, can bring key issues to the attention of the council. It is a rewarding form of public service.
Does it take up a lot of time?
You can be involved as little or as much as you like – around an hour or two per week is the norm, or more if you can manage it. Council meetings take place one evening a month and missing the occasional one is acceptable. Most meetings only take a couple of hours. We also have other shorter and more informal meetings mid-month, to discuss specific projects or activities. There is no pressure to attend any or all of these, although you will likely find that you’re too interested to stay away!
What support will I have as a new councillor?
Colleagues on the council will be able to provide advice and support, and the clerk is there to assist all Councillors in their new role. There are a variety of general training packages available, to introduce you to the workings of the parish council, as well some more specific training depending on what interests you may have and what you would like to get involved in. As a newly elected councillor, you will also receive copies of key council documents to read through which will give you a good starting point. Mostly, it will be learning ‘on the job’ and there will always be someone available to ask if you get stuck.
What if I find its not for me?
You can withdraw your nomination if you decide before the election that you don’t want to go through with it. If you are elected and decide subsequently that council life is not for you then you are free to resign at any time. However, be warned that when you start to make a real difference to community life and see the benefits that being a councillor can bring to you and your community it may just suck you in for life!