Make a change by becoming a parish councillor
If you are passionate about Westbourne, want to make a long lasting change, have ideas for the Council, or have concerns about a specific issue and want to do something about it, then please stand to be a parish councillor.
Being a councillor is all about giving back to the community by bringing your energy, enthusiasm and ideas to make a difference to local people and how local matters are dealt with. You would support residents with issues, represent the views of local people to get Westbourne the right services and help shape plans for the Parish.
We need people from all backgrounds and experiences to represent the community. If you would like to do more for Westbourne and have some time to spare, please do consider becoming a parish councillor. It's a rewarding experience which will involve you to work with a small team of people on a range of projects and initiatives. Training is also available and courses are run by the West Sussex Association of Local Councils.
Standing for election
Elections take place every four years, with the next election due in May 2027. To stand as a candidate in the election, you would need to nominate yourself once the election was announced.
If more nominations were received than there were places available (for example, more than nine nominations), an election would be carried out in the Parish. If the same or fewer nominations were received, councillors would automatically be elected without a ballot taking place. If there were still vacancies after the election, the Parish Council would try to fill them as soon as possible after the election.
Parish councillors stand for a term of four years, but sometimes vacancies do occur during this period. There are benefits to the Parish if more than two-thirds of council members are elected at an election and remain for the whole term of office. This means the Council qualifies for the General Power of Competence which gives it greater ability to do anything an individual could do, within the remit of other laws.
Co-option to fill vacancies
Councillors serve a four year term but vacancies do happen at times. To fill a vacancy outside of an election, candidates apply through the process of co-option. Vacancies are advertised as they become available and applicants should contact the Parish Clerk for more information. Applicants are asked to give a short presentation to the Council at its Full Council meeting as to why they would like to become a councillor. A vote is then carried out at the meeting and, if successful, the applicant would be invited to join the Parish Council.
The Parish Council's responsibilities
The Parish Council provides facilities, works to improve the quality of life for residents and represents the voice of the community. It's work is wide and varied, and involves:
- Setting an annual Precept - funding raised through Council Tax which is spent on the running of the Council and its activities. The Council is audited annually by the government.
- Being a statutory consultee on local planning applications. It has a Neighbourhood Plan to help plan local housing and protect the Parish. The Plan will need to be updated soon.
- Managing two recreation grounds, play areas and defibrillators and organising community events.
- Renting land to Westbourne Allotment Association
- Supporting the Bourne Community Bus and offering grants to other community initiatives.
- Working with the Council Council and police on road and traffic issues and running a Community Speedwatch Group
- Employing staff and contractors to deliver objectives
- Communicating with residents and working closely with other neighbouring parish councils, local community groups and organisations.
The role of a parish councillor
Parish councillors are community leaders who represent the interests of local residents by making recommendations and getting involved in decisions to make Westbourne a great place to live and work. You would be supported in your role and training is available. You should be comfortable working electronically. You should have a positive outlook, a can-do attitude and willing to work as part of a team.
The Parish Council meets 11 times a year in the evening of every second Thursday of the month. There are also six committees that meet regularly for more detailed discussion on matters. Councillors are invited to join committees depending on their interests and availability.
Non-councillor member of a committee
If you like to support the work of the Parish Council, but not become a parish councillor, there is the opportunity to join one of our committees (except the Finance Committee) on an advisory basis as a non-councillor member. You would be able to take part in discussions, advise and help with any actions resulting from the meeting but you would not be able to take part in a vote.
Please contact the Parish Clerk if you would like to discuss the role of parish councillor or would like to talk to a councillor about their work.