Follow us on Twitter

Do you agree with a Co-option?

0 votes

Hi all,

Just one I'm curious about from other people. When thinking of this one perhaps try and discount any issues you've had with Councillors and think objectively.

So here are my thoughts...

If any person stands for election and is uncontested then they automatically win and therefore become a Councillor. No person has needed to vote during this time, so I ask you...Is it fair that Council's sit as judge and jury if there is a Councillor vacancy and only one Councillor applies?

I have heard recently of Council's asking people to submit application forms and even when no other person has come forward for the vacancy, that person (despite meeting the legal requirements) has been declined.

Now let's be clear I as much as anyone else doesn't want to have troublesome people on the Council that bring no benefit BUT can I justify doing that when they would have become a Councillor at an uncontested election? To be in just feels like 'we' are overstepping our authority with this.

However, I am super curious to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

asked by (5k points)

4 Answers

0 votes
Whilst Councils should budget accordingly (and we all have to respect the democratic right 10 members of the electorate to request an election) is something quite galling about handing over thousands of pounds in election costs regularly (with departures regular feature for variety of reasons).   I just keep starring at the column in the budget header thinking what i could of done for the community with all that money.  
I think "Co-Option" a curious process.  Indeed very uncomfortable how ours have been conducted in the past.  Perhaps its why so many electors opt to force contests.  Just not sure what the alternative is in terms of cost effective viable alternatives.  If the option was removed across board wonder what the total cost would be in elections.  I think its like most things mind some really fair robust co-options and some simply not... Nobody maintaining standards across board so councils very much left to own devices.
answered by (1.2k points)
+1 vote
Let's not forget that the legislation requires the vacancy to be filled by co-option "as soon as practicable after the expiry of the period of 14 days" so there is no scope for holding onto a vacancy until the perfect candidate knocks on the door.

This situation can be pre-empted by adopting a policy for co-options that requires the reason for rejection to be published. Whilst you might be happy to reject someone purely because you don't like the cut of his jib, you probably don't want to see that on the front page of next week's local paper. Furthermore, it's a well-known fact that troublesome people seem significantly less troublesome if they're inside your tent urinating outwards.
answered by (19k points)
And Dave arrives with yet another top answer. Love it!!!
Agreed. If only all clerks had the same professionalism and knowledge as DtC.
Bit harsh Samuel
Issues with parish council and how they conduct themselves is not wholly the fault of the Clerk.  Sometimes councillors can be wrong too.
0 votes
The issue is that co-option is an informal procedure and not one that is covered in the legislation.  Therefore, some parish councils have a thorough and clear co-option policy, with voting procedures and clear explanations that state that if you are the only candidate, there is no requirement for your election.  Other councils find that they can never fill their empty seats as apathy is so great that they have to press-gang people to join.

So people will consider the option to elect or not as being negative, some will consider it to be positive.  For what it is worth, I consider it to be a healthy break which allows the council as a whole to decide to include the candidate or not.  Otherwise the council could be faced with internal fights and challenges and never have the chance to get work for the benefit of the parish done.
Co-option is only for a maximum of 4 years remember...  I would actually turn the argument around and say that councils should do more to get more than one candidate applying and then this issue wouldn't crop up.
answered by (12.1k points)
0 votes
Co option should always be seen as an inferior outcome to an election, even though contested elections are costly.  A cllr with a democratic mandate has a level of credibility that a newly co opted candidate cannot match. Legislation permits Council's to adopt their own co option process, which unfortunately often lead to a cllr asking his/her chum to put their name forward, and helping that chum selected by  a non transparent process.
answered by (14.7k points)

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Google Analytics Alternative