Filling a casual vacancy in the Office of Parish Councillor

When a vacancy arises on a Parish Council, due to an existing Councillor’s resignation, disqualification or death, there is a process to fill the vacancy.


Process to fill a vacancy

The Parish Council notifies the Proper Officer of the vacancy.
The Proper Officer then sends us a notice, which we have a duty to display for 14 working days, telling residents about the vacancy.

An election will be called if ten residents, who are registered to vote in the area where the vacancy has arisen, write to the Returning Officer asking that an election be held. If the parish council is warded, the request must come from ten electors within the relevant ward.

What happens if an election is not called?

The Parish Council is notified by Bedford Borough Council that an election has not been called and that the vacancy may be filled by co-option or, if vacancies remain after a recent election, the following procedure will apply:

We will post a notice on our notice boards advertising the vacancies. The notice will also include the closing date for all expressions of interest to be received.

When the applications have been received, the Parish Clerk will consider the application letter(s). If the applicant is:

not disqualified they may be co-opted on to the Parish Council.

if there is more than one applicant, then the decision will be decided by a vote.

Eligibility for office

To qualify for election as a Parish Councillor, and to hold this position, an applicant must be:

A British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union and on the relevant day (the day of nomination or election) have reached 18 years of age or over. They must also meet at least one of these four qualifications:

on the relevant day and thereafter they continue to be on the electoral register for the Parish
during the whole of the twelve months before that day, they have owned or tenanted land or premises in the parish

during the whole of the twelve months before that day their principal or only place of work has been in the parish

during the whole of the twelve months before that day, they have lived in the parish or within 4.8km (3 miles) of the parish boundary.


An applicant may be disqualified from standing (or being co-opted), if they are a paid officer or employee of that parish, have had bankruptcy restriction orders made against them or they have a previous criminal conviction with a prison sentence of three months or more.

If you are in any doubt whether you would be able to stand for election or co-option, please contact Electoral Services on 01483 4441126 or visit the Electoral Commission website for more information.

Other references:

Please also have a read of our Parish Elections Page

Refer to Brickhill’s Latest News section, and follow our Brickhill Facebook and Twitter pages for important announcements.

External links – over which we have no control and can quickly go out of date. Any problems, please let us know.

Publicity during the pre-election period

Bedford Borough Council – Elections and Voting

Elections Act 2022