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What can/should be done to make more Parish/Town Council Elections contested?

The May Elections data collated to date appears to have been one of the worst in terms of number of actual contests & total number of candidates. If you could change 5 things what would you do to increase number of contested elections at Parish/Town level?

1) New Standards Regulator 2) Requirement to Stream/Record Meetings 3) Reduce Number of Council Seats 4) Provide Member Allowance 5) Update Local Government Legislation (Remote Meetings, Paperless, Mandatory Transparency Code

Thoughts 

by (8.5k points)

1 Answer

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I agree the figures are dreadful in, my PC 11 stood for 20 seats but let’s face it most Parish Councils are more like clubs than official bodies and very rarely do clubs have contested elections

I think a complete overhaul of local government is required as at the lower levels it seems all about process rather than progress

My Parish has 20 Parish seats, 4 Borough and one County for 12,000 residents the Councillors  never sit down together so each layer operates in isolation from the other

The Borough has 51 Councillors compared to the city we are adjacent to that has 52 for a population of 366,000

The main town in the Borough has 55,000 residents and is run directly by the Borough, huge amounts on money are spent on the town using our money plus grants yet very few of the residents of my Parish ever even visit it
The thought of transferring more powers down to Parish Councils fills me with horror
by (11.6k points)
Interesting closing sentence Jules….

I believe Cornwall council is the largest unitary authority in England yet the thought of transferring more powers to them fills me, and most of Cornwall given the feedback on the prospect of a Mayor for Cornwall, with horror.
Local elections need a determined champion willing to get out there and PROVE the benefits.
2 years ago I coordinated the first contested PC election in decades and set in motion a train of events which saw almost ½ the PC replaced at election and another 6 resigned or disqualified in the following 2 years.
I was co-opted in Jan 22, elected chair in Jun 22, delivered the biggest PC precept reduction in all of Cornwall (28%) and I think it must be amongst the biggest reductions nationwide.
Halved  the salary bill for no apparent loss of output and over subscribed for cooption candidates to fill the 6 recently created vacancies.
There needs to be a “force” behind driving change - that is what is required.
The 1 thing I’d change overall - if only there was a way to encourage some of the high quality professionals and small business owners into the PC environment.
"The thought of transferring more powers down to Parish Councils fills me with horror" without major sweeping reform and a decade of progress showing sector in a better place agree. It fills me with absolute horror. Yes there are individual success stories (but what happens when they leave..) I suppose the question RAC is are you confident that will always be a driving force within your community year after year after year to stop the past mistakes been repeated.
Progress - Repeating mistakes of the past - confident?  Not in the slightest!  It'll slip back into paralysis and incompetence in the blink of an eye...

Much like national politics.

Labour balls everything up, the Tories sort it out (but everyone gets the hump along the way) then Labour get back in a balls it up again...

And so the merry-go-round continues....

(I did vote Tory last time because I considered Corbyn a genuine threat (to everything) but was Green the time before that so not dyed in the wool - just a realist....)
In My parish we need to get rid of the older pc who think they run the place and are just rude in meeting people will not join because of them
Long standing members acting as a massive disincentive to new candidates- A common problem Andrew.
“Experience” is valuable - but only when it is valid,,relevant and GOOD experience!  The opposite is a continuation of bad habits which are often in a perpetual state of renewal as individuals join through co-option and are corrupted by habitual assimilation of pre-existing bad practice.
I’d go with reduce numbers and pay an allowance.
Whilst I rather doubt any allowance would be sufficient to act as a meaningful “pull” factor for experienced, generously pensioned ex professionals (they’ll do it because they want to rather than because they are paid to)  it might just be enough to leverage some younger, earlier stage career types into Cllr roles.

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