Becoming a Parish Councillor
Following a recent resignation, there is a vacancy for a Parish Councillor on Sutton Valence Parish Council. Have you ever wanted to contribute more to your community? Want to know what’s actually involved? Please read on …………….
To appreciate what is involved in being a Parish Councillor you need to know what a Parish Council is, and what it can and cannot do. We have to get the image of the Vicar of Dibley out of our mind and understand that the Parish Council is nothing to do with the Church or the Diocese; nor is it a voluntary and community sector body.
“Your Parish Council is the local authority closest to the electorate”
A Parish Council is a separate legal, corporate entity. First created by the Local Government Act of 1894.
A Parish Council also provides services for the local people. These can range from recreation grounds, play areas, allotments, nature reserves, and a cemetery. What can be provided is down to the Parish Council. There is a list of the activities that a Parish Council has the power to provide. Like any statutory body it can only do the things for which the law or any governing body document gives a power.
The Parish Council has one particular asset that is extremely valuable – it has the ability to set a Precept (sum of money), which is collected from all residents through the Community Charge system.
With the right to levy a form of taxation come some duties. In particular a duty to behave in an ethical manner according to a Code of Conduct (declaring interests and leaving the room when likely to be prejudiced) and a duty to have the annual accounts subjected to audit under the aegis of the Audit Commission.
“Training is available and support will be found from colleagues, the Parish Clerk, as well as from the Kent Association of Local Councils”
You may feel uncertain about the knowledge required to be a Councillor and may feel overawed by those who have done the job for years. Rather like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes – the simple question was the key to what was going on. All good Councillors should use the key word – “Why?” on a regular basis. Remember – training and support is available.
So, if you want to do more for your community, if you want to spend your time productively, and if you can think, listen and act locally – why not consider becoming a Parish Councillor? How? If you are interested in applying for this position please send your CV with a covering letter to Janet Burnett, Parish Clerk, Sutton Valence Parish Council, The Parish Office, Sutton Valence Village Hall, North Street, Sutton Valence, Kent ME17 3HS- telephone 01622 844135, email: firstname.lastname@example.org