Becoming a councillor

Serving as a councillor on any parish or town council is controlled by the rules and regulations laid out in the Local Government  Act 1972 (LGA 1972). Shinfield Parish Council has capacity for 15 serving councillors. In many cases those who put themselves forward for a seat on the parish council are uncontested. This council, generally speaking, has more seats than there are nominations. Nonetheless, the election process is adhered to and elections are held every four years. Seats remaining vacant at this time can be filled by co-option, subject to the correct procedures being followed.
Between elections further vacancies arising can also be filled by co-option, providing each vacancy is duly notified and  nominations invited.


Broadly speaking, anyone who has a desire and sufficient spare time to serve the community can become a councillor. Their appointment is subject to the qualifying criteria being met and the individual being willing to adhere to the statutory Code of Conduct for Parish Councillors.

Qualifying criteria

A candidate must be:

  • A British subject or a citizen of the a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Union
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A local government elector for the area of the authority, or for during the preceding 12 months, lived in the parish or within 3 miles of the parish, have owned or occupied land in the parish, or worked in the parish

A candidate cannot:

  • Hold paid office or employment within the council
  • Be subject to a bankruptcy restriction order or interim order
  • Have been within the last five years convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for more than three months

Relevant skills are:

  • Good listening skills
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Good local knowledge

Applying to fill a casual vacancy

The council chooses someone to fill a vacancy if insufficient candidates are proposed for seats at an election. An ordinary election occurs every four years but there may be an election when a seat falls vacant at other times.

In addition, if a vacancy occurs between elections (for example, by the resignation of a councillor), the council must generally find out if the electors want an election before they can co-opt.

It is better for democracy if councillors are elected rather than relying on co-option, so they can be confident that the council is the community’s choice of representatives.

If you are interested in filling a casual vacancy by co-option, either contact the council, via the Clerk, the Chairman or the Vice Chairman, stating your desire to serve on the council, or come along to any of our meetings. We welcome candidates from all walks of life and appreciate a diversity of skills and knowledge. Everyone who joins the council enhances our skills base in one way or another.

Applying to join the council at election time

Administration of formal elections is undertaken by Wokingham Borough Council.

If you want to stand you can obtain the necessary forms from the clerk or from:
The Returning Officer Wokingham Borough Council Shute End Wokingham RG40 1BN