A Councillor is a member of the council and is normally elected for a term of four years. Councillors are elected to represent the interest of the local community as a whole and promote a harmonious local environment. People of any political or religious persuasion are eligible to become a Councillor, although their personal views should not extend into their parish council work.
The number of elected Councillors depends on the size of the area. Brandon Parva, Coston, Runhall & Welborne Parish Council has seven Councillors.
Individual Councillors work together to serve the community and to help the Council to make decisions on behalf of the local community. Councillors contribute to the work of the council by suggesting ideas, engaging in constructive debate and by responding to the needs and views of the community representing their constituents. Councillors comment on proposals to ensure the best outcome and vote to enable the council to make decisions.
Councillors attend meetings of the full council and participate in any committee that deals with specific areas of council business. Councillors must accept a decision of the Council as a whole even if they do not agree with it. In such circumstances a Councillor may ask for a vote against a resolution to be recorded.
An individual Councillor (including the Chairman) cannot make a decision on behalf of the council so Councillors must always remember that they represent the council as a corporate body. Councillors are required to behave in an ethical way and to declare an interest when necessary.
The Chairman is elected by the members of the Council at the Council’s Annual General Meeting and serves for twelve months.
The Chairman’s main role is to run council meetings. The Chairman is responsible for ensuring that effective and lawful decisions are taken at meetings of the council and, assisted by the clerk, guides activities by managing the meetings of the council. The Chairman is responsible for involving all Councillors in discussion and ensuring that Councillors keep to the point. The Chairman summarises the debate and facilitates the making of clear resolutions and is responsible for keeping discussions moving so that the meeting is not too long.
The Chairman has a casting vote. His/her first vote is a personal vote as a member of the council. If there is a tied vote, the Chairman can have a second, casting vote.
The Chairman is usually the public face of the council and will represent the council at official events. He/she may be asked to speak on behalf of the council and, in such circumstances, should only express the agreed views of the council and not his/her personal views. The Chairman cannot legally make a decision on behalf of the council.