Current situation – as of September 2019
At the last election (May 2019) there were not enough nominations for the available seats so the Council is looking to co-opt Councillors to these vacancies.
About being a councillor.
Dartington Parish Council is an elected body in the first tier of local government. Other higher tiers, for example the District or County Council, have legal obligations to deliver services including for example education, housing, planning and transport. Parish councils have the legal power to take action in some situations, but they have very few duties – things they must do.
Parish Councils play a vital part in representing the interests of the communities they serve and can also influence other decision makers.
All Councillors are expected to abide by the Code of Conduct which covers the principles of public life and disclosing personal and pecuniary interests as defined by the Localism Act. It is up to individual Councillors to decide whether they have an interest or not, but it is better to be open and declare anything which you, or others, might think could affect your decision making. There is a legal requirement to disclose and register a pecuniary (financial) interest.
In making all decisions, Councillors are expected to abide by the following principles :
Co-opted v elected councillors
There is no difference between co-opted and elected councillors other than how they become councillors. The requirements and duties are the same for all Councillors irrespective of how they attained office.
A co-opted Councillor is one who is appointed to the Council by Councillors, rather than being elected.
Council elections are every four years and so the term of office for Councillors is four years. All Councillors serve until the next scheduled elections. To stand as a Parish Councillor in an election, you need to meet certain requirements. These requirements are in the document below – pages 3, 4 & 5 are the relevant pages.
You must also meet these requirements if you wish to be co-opted to the Council.
See below to find out how to be co-opted. If you have any questions about being a Councillor, please contact the Clerk.
Process for co-opting to Casual Vacancies arising on the Council
New Councillors are co-opted at a full meeting of the Parish Council which must be quorate (see below). Candidates should check they meet the eligibility requirements and send the Clerk some information about themselves (stating for example what they would bring to the Council) in advance of the meeting. Candidates are also invited to speak at the meeting to introduce themselves. The Councillors at the meeting will then discuss the co-option and make their decision. Once the Declaration of Acceptance of Office has been signed, the candidate becomes a Councillor and can take part in the rest of the meeting.
No Council business can be conducted unless there is a quorum – the legal minimum number of Councillors present. A quorum is one third of seats available rounded up to the nearest whole number. In Dartington’s case there are 11 seats on the Council so the quorum is four. Currently there are only 6 councillors in post.
The document below is a useful introduction to being a councillor.
Contact the Clerk if you are interested!