The term of office of a parish councillor is four years, and council seats are elected en bloc through a First past the post system like some other UK elections by secret ballot. The legislation provides that the number of elected members of a parish council shall not be less than five. Larger parishes like our own, can be divided into parish wards, with separate elections for each ward.
The timing of the election cycle is usually linked to that of the election of a district councillor for the ward containing the parish. Where the elections to a district council are delayed or cancelled, the term of a parish council may be extended to match the next elections to the new authority.
A candidate must be at least one of the following:
- A UK or Commonwealth citizen
- Citizen of the Republic of Ireland
- Citizen of another member state of the European Union
and candidates must state on their consent for nomination form their qualification for election, which must be at least one of the following:
- they are an elector of the parish
- during the whole of the last 12 months they have occupied, either as owner or tenant, land or other premises in the parish.
- their principal or only place of work is in the parish
- they live within 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) of the parish boundary
The chairman of the last council shall remain in office, even if not elected to the newly constituted council, until a new chairman is appointed at the first meeting of the new council.