Information about Town and Parish Councils

These pages have been developed to provide guidance and information for members of the public about Wiltshire’s town and parish councils, as well as links to relevant sources of additional information about town and parish councils generally.

A number of resources for Town and Parish Councillors are available at the Town and Parish Council Resources page.

Wiltshire Council publishes a monthly newsletter for town and parish councils called ‘Wiltshire News’ which provides information for parish and town councils about the work we do. It contains brief summaries of key reports, consultations and news with links to further information on our website.

This newsletter is produced by the corporate communications team. For more information, back copies or to provide feedback please email or telephone 01225 713115.

Links to relevant organisations, key Legislation, and other Wiltshire Council pages are available at the Useful links for Town and Parish Councils page.

Town and Parish Councils in Wiltshire

There are 253 town and parish councils within Wiltshire.

Contact information and further details for all of the councils are available at the Contact details for Town and Parish Councils in Wiltshire page.

What is a town/parish council?

Town and parish councils are the first layer of local government. They are elected local authorities, which aim to engage local people and respond to their needs, through representation as community advocates or by providing services, for example; the administration of parks or promoting tourism in the local area.

What do they do?

The activities parish and town councils are involved in are varied and diverse. They have a range of functions:
• as community representatives on other bodies
• powers to provide facilities
• powers to be notified of proposals and surveys
• other miscellaneous powers.

Many parish and town councils are involved in planning, promoting tourism, licensing, community halls, representation, management of town and village centres and provide local representatives for the Council's Community Area Boards.

Town and Parish Councillors

Each town and parish council is made up of councillors who, on the whole, are elected through the ballot box. Elections are held every four years and the last elections in Wiltshire took place in May 2017.

By-elections are also held to fill vacant seats as and when they occur.

Some councillors are not elected but co-opted onto the Council. This happens when there are not enough candidates at the time of an election to fill all the vacancies or, when a vacancy occurs mid-term, the electorate does not call for an election. In these circumstances the existing elected councillors, provided there is a quorum (i.e. one third of the whole numbers of members with a minimum of three), can co-opt members to fill the remaining vacancies.

Town and Parish Elections

The Elections pages of Wiltshire Council’s website contain information on a range of electoral issues such as electoral boundaries, election results, registering to vote, postal and proxy voting, current town and parish council vacancies and forthcoming town and parish elections.

You will also find a link to the Electoral Services Commission website which contains further information including guidance for candidates and agents and relevant legislation.

Alternatively, further information about qualifying as a candidate and the election process is available at the National Association of Local Councils' website.

Current Vacancies in Town and Parish Councils

Details of vacancies arising in town and parish councils across Wiltshire are available through the Current Councillor Vacancies page of our website. Here you will find the notice of vacancy which contains details of the process for calling an election and the relevant deadlines.

Forthcoming Elections in Wiltshire

Upcoming town or parish council elections in Wiltshire are listed through the Forthcoming Town and Parish Council Elections page on our website.

Here you will find information about how to obtain nomination papers and how to register to vote in these elections, together with relevant deadlines and contact details.

How to complain about a Councillor

Details of what is covered by the Code of Conduct, information about how to make a complaint and the process for looking into it by the Standards Committee are available at the this link

Register of Members’ Interests

Members can log their interests on the online registration page