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Rother District Council has recently reminded parish councils of the procedure for filling casual vacancies as prescribed in the Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) 1986 and the Local Government Act 1972. This seems to be an opportunity to consider drawing up a strategy for Sedlescombe Parish Council so that, when a casual vacancy arises, a procedure can be adopted without further reference to the Council. Most of the procedure is as prescribed by law but, after allowing time for an election to be requested, councils can fill vacancies as they wish. By adopting the following strategy, the Sedlescombe Parish Council would agree to automatically advertise the vacancy at expiration of the time allowed for an election to be requested. By doing this, the Parish Council will be acting in an open and fair way, allowing all living in the parish to apply to fill the vacancy.




1. In these instances: a) when a Councillor fails to make declaration of acceptance of office within the prescribed time or b) when a Councillor resigns or c) when a Councillor ceases to be qualified, a casual vacancy will have occurred and the following action will be taken immediately by the Clerk:

  1. Notice of the vacancy on the Parish Council will be posted in conspicuous places in the parish. The notice will contain:
    1. the name of the resigning Councillor;
    2. a statement that "An election to fill the vacancy will be held if, within 14 days (not counting Saturdays and Sundays and certain days) from the date below, TEN electors for the Parish give notice in writing claiming such an election to the Returning Officer".
  2. The notice will be copied to the Electoral Services Manager at Rother who will remove the name of the resigned councillor from the register of interests.
  3. The Clerk will remove the resigned councillor's details from the Parish Council website.

In the case of the death of a Councillor, notice of that vacancy will be given as soon as possible as above.


2. At the expiration of the 14-day period, if the District Council has not received a written request for an election to be held, the Clerk will invite applications from qualified persons to be co-opted to fill the vacancy. Depending on the Parish Council's meetings' cycle, the applications will be considered either at an ordinary meeting of the Council or at an emergency meeting. There is no set time in which this must be done, simply "as soon as practicable". The Council will consider the applications in public wherever possible. If it is considered necessary to close the meeting temporarily in accordance with Standing Orders to consider applications, a vote on filling the vacancy will be taken in public.


3. If the District Council does receive a written request for an election to be held, the District Council will run the election but the Parish Council will be required to pay for it. The average cost of an uncontested election is estimated at £150 and an election resulting in a Poll at £1,500 (excluding the cost of Poll Cards, if requested by the Parish Council).


4. After either election or co-option, the Clerk will obtain details of the new councillor's financial and other interests and will forward signed forms to Rother's Monitoring Officer for inclusion in the public register. The Clerk will ensure that the new councillor's details are added to the website.


Mrs P Raymond
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer, Sedlescombe Parish Council
19 February 2009
01424 870508, sedlescombe@freezone.co.uk, www.sedlescombe.org.uk