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Parish Councils are permitted to exercise the power to co-opt a person on to the Council to fill a casual vacancy when the requirements to hold an election have not been met (i.e. The vacancy has been the subject of a public notice and less than 10 registered electors have requested an election by a deadline date specified by the West Berkshire Council Returning Officer).
If no request for an election is received by West Berkshire Council by the date on the Notice of Vacancy, the Electoral Services Team will advise the ParishCouncil that it may co-opt to the vacancy. Co-option is the process by which the Parish Council selects a new Councillor and it is done as an agenda item within a monthly Parish Council meeting.
Note: Although seeking ‘expressions of interest’ is not a legal requirement, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) recommends that Councils always give public notice of vacancies because this makes the process of co-option open and transparent and should attract more potential candidates.
Lambourn Parish Council is composed of four wards: Lambourn Central, Upper Lambourn, Woodlands and Eastbury.
Advertise the vacancy to seek and encourage ‘expressions of interest’ by a specified date from anyone in the Parish who is eligible to stand as a Parish Councillor.
All potential candidates will be requested to put their request for consideration in writing as per APPENDIX A & B at the end of this document by a specified date prior to the next Full Council meeting.
At the next Full Council meeting:
i. Clerk to confirm that each candidate is qualified to become a Councillor and is not disqualified from being a Councillor as set out in the Local Government Act 1972 s79 and s80;
ii. Candidates found to be offering inducements or undue pressure of any kind on Councillors or the Clerk will be disqualified.
iii. Qualified nominees are then tabled at the Full Council meeting to which the nominees are invited to attend and make a presentation to Council. After their presentation they will be able to remain as observers at the meeting but not join any discussion.
iv. At the end of the public meeting a resolution will be tabled to exclude press and public to enable Council to discuss the applications.
v. When there is only one nominee for a vacancy, voting will be by a show of hands, unless a Councillor requests a secret ballot or the Chair directs that one will take place.
vi. When there are more than one nominee for one vacancy, in order for a candidate to be elected it will be necessary for them to obtain an absolute majority of votes cast (50% + 1 of the votes available at the meeting). If there are more than two candidates for one vacancy and none of them at the first count has an overall majority, the candidate with the fewest votes should be eliminated and the remainder put to the vote again. The process should be repeated as necessary until one candidate has an overall majority.
vii. The Clerk will approach and offer co-option to candidate(s) after the meeting in the order of priority determined by the vote at above. If the first choice does not accept the post then the second is to be approached and so on until the ranking list is exhausted.
viii. The Clerk will then confirm the appointment with the full council via email (or other preferred method) by the following day.
ix. The Clerk to notify Electoral Services of the new Councillor appointment, initiate ‘acceptance of office’ paperwork and ‘registration of interests’ on the Parish Council website.
x. The new councillor then has 28 days to return their completed forms or they will forfeit their position on the Parish Council.
xi. If no one accepts the vacant post(s), the whole process is to be repeated when new individuals expressing interest are identified.
In order to be eligible for co-option as a Parish Councillor you must be: A British subject, or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Union;
On the ‘relevant date’ (i.e. the day on which you are nominated or the day of the election) 18 years of age or over; and
Additionally able to meet one of the following qualifications set out below:
a. You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the parish
b. 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.
c. Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination has been in the parish area.
d. You have lived in the parish area or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
Please note, apart from meeting the qualifications for standing for election, you must also not be disqualified. The full range of disqualifications is complex and if you are in any doubt about whether you are disqualified, you must do everything you can to check that you are not disqualified before submitting your nomination papers. Some examples of disqualifications include but are not exhaustive:
a. You are employed by the parish council or hold a paid office under the parish council (including joint boards or committees).
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Document owner: Lambourn Parish Council
Date of last review:
Most Recent Updates:
8/1/2022 – Amended to use of “Chair” throughout document