Parish Councillor Casual Vacancy Guidelines

A casual vacancy occurs following the resignation or death of a serving member. Central Beds Council are notified of the vacancy and the Electoral Services Department post a formal Notice of Vacancy. The notice will be displayed for fourteen days. During this time ten electors of each ward of the parish can demand an election takes place. The ten electors requesting a vote must be on the electoral roll in the ward. If called the by-election is then organised by Central Beds Council. If an election is not called then the Parish Council will fill the seat by co-option process.

The vacancy by co-option will be advertised on notice boards within the parish and via social media for a minimum of four weeks.


The Parish Council is able to consider any person to fill a vacancy provided that:

  • He/she is an elector for the parish; or
  • has resided in the parish for the past twelve months or rented/tenanted land in the parish; or
  • had his/her principal place of work in the parish; or
  • has lived within three miles (straight line) of the parish.

There are certain disqualifications for election, of which the main are (see 5. 80 of the Local Government Act 1972):

  • holding a paid office of the Parish Council
  • bankruptcy;
  • having been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of not less than three months, without the option of a fine during the five years preceding the election; and
  • being disqualified under any enactment relating to corrupt or illegal practices.



Candidates will be requested to:

 Submit information about themselves, by way of completing a short application letter and applicants will also be asked to confirm the eligibility to serve, based on the above criteria.

 Parish Council Meeting

 If there are more applicants than vacancies the Council will employ a process for election. The Parish Council will consider the candidates for co-option to fill the vacancy in open session at a Parish Council meeting. The Chairman will call for nominations of the candidates to the Council and the Clerk will circulate the application forms with the normal meeting papers.

Prospective candidates will be invited to address the Parish Council for a maximum of three minutes. The process will be carried out in the public session. The successful candidate must receive an absolute majority vote of those members present at the Parish Council meeting. If a member is not at the meeting the legislation does not provide for a proxy or postal vote.

For further information about becoming Councillor please read the Good Councillor Guide. Link here.

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