Related articles: Voter ID needed at May elections; Saltford residents – Keep an eye out for your poll cards this week; B&NES Council drop-in services offer help for applying for photo ID for May elections
If you’re passionate about the Saltford community, want to make positive changes, and can work alongside others to ensure Saltford is a great place to be then consider standing as a candidate for Saltford Parish Council’s (SPC) elections. Elections take place every four years and are next due in 2023.
Nominations to stand as a candidate open on 21 March and close on 4 April (4pm). Saltford Parish Council staff do not run the Parish Council elections, this is the responsibility of B&NES Council’s Returning Officer and Electoral Services team. Nomination papers will be available to download from The Electoral Commission’s website, details are on the notice sent to SPC by B&NES Council which will be published when nominations open. Nomination papers can also be obtained from the Returning Officer in the B&NES Council Electoral Services team. Contact details are on the Notice of Elections and also below.
Notice of Elections: The Notice of Elections for Saltford (both for the Parish Council Councillor election and the B&NES Ward Councillor election) were displayed on SPC’s noticeboard on Monday 20 March 2023. Copies of the notices can be found as follows:
Click the following to download nomination papers. These can also be downloaded from The Electoral Commission website. Guidance for completing nomination forms can be found in The Electoral Commission’s Guidance for Candidates Part 2a of 6 Standing as an independent candidate and The Electoral Commission’s Guidance for Candidates Part 2b of 6 standing as a party candidate, and B&NES Council has shared guidance for candidates in its YouTube video from 14 March (below). The first day that nomination papers can be submitted is 21 March 2023
Uncontested elections: If the number of nominated candidates standing for election is insufficient to fill the vacancies on the Council (e.g. 11 of fewer), those candidates are automatically elected as SPC Councillors. This means they are elected uncontested/unopposed. If it becomes clear once the nomination process closes, the B&NES Council Returning Officer will write to all candidates to say they have been elected. The date for this is 5 April 2023. The list of candidates will be published on Wednesday 5 April and can be found on https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-elections-4-may-2023. Information will also be on SPC’s noticeboard and website.
Contested elections: If there are more candidates than seats available (e.g. 12 or more for SPC) the election will be contested on election day (4 May) and the counting of votes for the Parish Council elections will start at 10am on 5 May.
B&NES Council virtual briefing for candidates (Parish and Town Council elections)
B&NES Council held a virtual briefing via Teams for candidates standing at the parish and town council elections on Thursday 4 May.
Ahead of this candidates were asked to view Electoral Commission guidance (www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/candidate-or-agent/parish-council-elections-england). B&NES Council has reiterated that it is important that all candidates read the Electoral Commission guidance before submitting nomination papers.
A recording of the event can be accessed via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhAdFCYBrMM
Saltford Parish Council – Councillors and Staff
Parish Council’s differ in size, interests and activity. For information about the current Saltford Parish Council please see our Parish Council page. SPC’s website contains wide-ranging information including what Saltford Parish Council has achieved during its current term (news article ‘Saltford Parish Council – Key achievements over the past four years‘), as well as agendas and minutes detailing actions and decisions, council responsibilities, SPC’s financial information, and regular news articles. General information about what Parish Councils do can also be found on the Avon Local Council Association (ALCA) webpage.
Saltford Parish Council has 11 Councillors who offer their time voluntarily for the benefit of the local community. Please see the Councillors page of SPC’s website for current Councillors and some of the roles they hold. Councillors on Saltford Parish Council ‘retire’ in May, when the next Council is elected.
Saltford Parish Council is supported by a part-time Parish Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer. As SPC has a qualified Clerk, Saltford Parish Council can hold the General Power of Competence. In simple terms, GPoC gives councils the power to do anything an individual can do provided it is not prohibited by other legislation. The role of the Parish Clerk is to advise the Council to ensure that business is conducted lawfully, administer the Council’s paperwork, ensure meetings are prepared correctly, implement council decisions and projects, and oversee communications with residents (amongst other responsibilities). As Responsible Financial Officer, they also maintain and record the accounts of the Council and prepare these for audit. The Parish Clerk will support newer Councillors as they learn about the Parish Council and throughout their time on SPC, and offer Councillor training prior to the first Full Council meeting.
By law, SPC Councillors are summoned to attend meetings. Saltford Parish Council generally meets on the first Tuesday of the month (bar August) in the Avon Room at Saltford Hall. The meeting starts at 7:15pm, with Councillors arriving a little earlier. Due to the elections, the first meeting of the new Saltford Parish Council will take place on 16 May 2023 (7.15pm start, Avon Room, Saltford Hall). Meetings usually last about two hours.
For a summary of what Parish Councillors do (also referred to as ‘local’ Councillors – or Town Councillors), how to become a Councillor, recruitment resources and some ‘Councillor stories’ about what being a Parish Councillor can be like, visit the National Association of Local Council’s ‘Make a change, become a Councillor’ (NALC) webpage. There is also helpful information on the Avon Local Council Association (ALCA) ‘Become a Councillor‘ webpage. Plus please do chat to current SPC Councillors, their contact details can be found on the Councillors page.
Check Your Eligibility (Guidance from ALCA):
You can be a Councillor for several Councils at the same time: County, District and Parish/Town Council.
You can be a Councillor if you have a full-time job; by law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your duties as a Councillor.
You do not need to belong to a political party to stand for election and can stand as a candidate to become a Parish/Town Councillor if:
You are over 18 or over on the day you submit your nomination paper and are a British, Commonwealth or European Union Citizen* and at least one of the following:
• a registered local government elector in the electoral area you are wanting to stand as a candidate have resided in the area for the whole 12 months preceding the day of nominations, or
• work in the electoral area in which you want to stand and have for at least the past 12 months
• own property in the electoral area you are wanting to stand and have for at least the past 12 months
• for all of the previous 12 months you have lived in the Parish/Town or within 3 miles of the boundary
*This is expected to change for European Citizens in 2025
Disqualifications. You cannot be a Parish Councillor if:
• You work for the Council to which you wish to be elected
• You are subject to bankruptcy restrictions or interim orders
• Within five years of the election date you have been convicted of any offence and sentenced to a term imprisonment of at least three months (suspended or not) without the option of a fine
• You have been found guilty of corrupt or illegal practices, or are responsible for incurring unlawful expenditure
The Electoral Commission
Please visit the Electoral Commission website if considering standing as a candidate for Saltford Parish Council. Their website provides relevant guides which candidates may find helpful including: Can you stand for election? (eligibility, disqualifications etc), Candidate spending (expenses), and other candidate guidance documents.
The Electoral Commission website also has a timetable for the local government elections in England.
The Election Timetable – key dates:
20 March 2023 – B&NES Council will provide the Publication of Notice of Election to Saltford PC to display on its noticeboard and website by 5pm.
21 March – Candidates can submit their nominations from 9am
4 April – 4pm deadline for candidates to deliver forms (listed below) to the Guildhall (Bath)
5 April – Publication of statement of persons nominated OR Notice of results provided (if uncontested election). Both provided by B&NES Council and displayed by Saltford Parish Council
25 April – Notice of Poll and Situation of Polling Stations provided by B&NES Council and displayed by Saltford Parish Council (if contested election)
4 May (7am-10pm) – Polling Day (or ‘Election Day’) 7am-10pm for Saltford Parish Council (if a contested election) and B&NES Council Ward Councillors. B&NES Ward Councillor votes will be counted first, verification starts 10:15pm. Results for Parish Councils are expected in the following day.
5 May – Count to start for Parish Councils at 10am. Results expected the same day or soon after.
9 May – Existing Councillors retire. Official date for new Councillors to take up office. Also SPC Councillor training at 7pm – the Clerk will be in touch with newly appointed Councillors. This is when Councillors will complete their ‘declaration of acceptance of office’ form and ‘register of interests’ form, provided by SPC.
16 May – First Full Council meeting of the new Saltford Parish Council, in the Avon Room at Saltford Hall at 7:15pm. Councillors will be formally summoned to attend three clear days before, usually the Thursday before the meeting. SPC’s May meeting is also the ‘Annual Parish Council Meeting’, when the Power of General Competence is resolved and also when the Chair, Vice Chair, Committee members and Working Group members are agreed.
1 June – Deadline for submission of Candidate Election Spending Returns (expenses) – everyone must do this who has submitted nomination papers no matter the outcome (this needs to be submitted to B&NES, not to or via Saltford Parish Council). A NIL submission is required if applicable.
All enquiries to: email@example.com (Contact details for the Electoral Services team are below)
Helpful tips for those standing for nomination:
The following guidance has been provided by B&NES Council’s Electoral Services team but please do check details with B&NES Council if required or for clarification (SPC cannot take responsibility for any errors in the information below).
Check you are qualified to be a Councillor. See information above from ALCA as well as the Electoral Commission guide on their website. Please contact the B&NES Council Electoral Services team for further advice if required.
Three documents need to be submitted by candidates. The following papers must be delivered by hand:
1a: Nomination paper
1b: Home address form (part 1 and part 2)
1c: Candidate’s consent to nomination (including the pages of legislation)
Delivery of Forms: Forms must be delivered by hand to the Returning Officer at the Guildhall (in Bath) by the candidate OR a trusted person by the deadline. Reception staff at the Guildhall cannot take these documents and so do not leave on their desk. The Electoral Services team are located in Brunswick Room (located near the reception desk). The elections team will check everything is in order in the forms so you do not have to go back to the Guildhall if there is an error. They can be checked before being formally submitted. The Returning Officer will be available to received forms 9am-4pm, though the Guildhall is open Mon-Thurs 8:30-5, 8:30-4:30 on Fri – but please check at https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/guildhall-bath in case of any changes. It is recommended not to leave delivery of forms till the last day in case of delays. The end time for forms to be submitted is 4pm on 4 April 2023.
Nomination Form: Downloadable forms will be on the Electoral Commission website. If standing for Saltford Parish Council leave the ‘Ward’ section blank (this is only for the three Town Councils in B&NES). Commonly used name is what will show on the ballot paper. So if you are known as ‘Joe Bloggs’ not ‘Joseph Bloggs’ and you would prefer ‘Joe Bloggs’ on the ballot paper, put the shortened version of your name under ‘commonly used name’ UNLESS this is one of your middle names. If you go by your middle name or need more information about the ‘commonly used name’ section please contact B&NES Elections Services team for guidance. Seconders must be on the electoral register for Saltford. It does not matter who the seconder is as long as they are on the electoral register for Saltford, so for instance it can be spouse or any other relative. Candidates can contact the B&NES Council Electoral Services team for this information. It will also be on your Poll Card to be delivered on March 20th by B&NES Council (an A4 sheet this year rather than a card as in previous years). Once again the B&NES Council Electoral Services team can advise on electoral codes and polling district numbers.
Home Address form: Use your full name on this form, not any commonly used name. Fill in your address. The witness can be anyone, they do not have to be on electoral register. You can choose not to have your home address published publicly. If so, it will appear on the ballot paper as ‘Address in Bath and North East Somerset’. You cannot have ‘Saltford’, by law it must be the name of the district i.e. ‘Bath and North East Somerset’.
Candidate’s consent to nomination form: Ensure that the home address matches with the address stated in other form(s). You will only fill in the first page of this document but all five pages of the document must be returned by the candidate to the Guildhall.
B&NES Electoral Services Team
The B&NES Elections office is able to advise candidates on all aspects of the elections process including completing forms and access to the Electoral Register (for candidates and seconder electoral roll numbers). Contact details for the team at B&NES area as follows:
What is Saltford Parish Council’s role in the Parish Council elections?
The Parish Clerk will display notices provided by B&NES Council’s Returning Officer throughout the elections process. Notices will be displayed on SPC’s website and noticeboard (by the parade of shops) on the day they are published by 5pm.
The role of Saltford Parish Council during elections is to actively raise awareness of the upcoming elections, promote the work and role of the Parish Council, encourage residents to stand as candidates, and encourage residents to vote. All other actions belong to other responsible authorities, mainly B&NES Council, who are running the election process.
SPC can only offer limited assistance to prospective candidates regarding queries, such as the ‘helpful tips’ on form completion above. In most instances it is appropriate for SPC to refer candidates to the B&NES elections office.
SPC cannot supply, print or deliver forms – these are the sole responsibility of the candidates to source from The Electoral Commission website (download) or by asking for hardcopies from the B&NES Council Electoral Services team – nor can the Parish Clerk or existing Councillors assist with the completion of forms.
Candidates are able to claim expenses, please see the Electoral Commission’s guidance on this as linked above.
Forms must be hand delivered to the Guildhall in Bath (NOT to Saltford Parish Council). It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure they have submitted their forms to the correct location prior to the deadline, as detailed above. Saltford Parish Council is not able to deliver forms to the Guildhall on behalf of candidates.
After the elections
If you are elected as a Saltford Parish Councillor – either in an uncontested or contested election – you will become a Councillor on 9 May, when the previous Councillors retire.
SPC will carry out Councillor training on the evening of Tuesday 9 May starting at 7pm. This is when Councillors will sign a ‘Declaration of Acceptance’ form, as Councillors cannot join in council meetings or events until this is done. Councillors must also complete a ‘resister of interests’ form which will be sent to the Monitoring Officer at B&NES Council and displayed on SPC’s website.
SPC’s first Full Council meeting after elections will take place on Tuesday 16 May 2023, in the Avon Room at Saltford Hall, starting at 7:15pm. Councillors are requested to arrive at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts. As above, SPC’s May meeting is also the ‘Annual Parish Council Meeting’, when the Power of General Competence is resolved and also when the Chair, Vice Chair, Committee members and Working Group members are agreed. The Parish Clerk will summon Councillors to attend the meeting three clear days in advance, usually the Thursday before the meeting. Information about the meeting is also shared publicly on this date.
Full Council meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, generally in the Avon Room at Saltford Hall, starting at 7:15pm (apart from August, when Planning Committee will instead meet on the first Tuesday of the month).