Becoming a Parish Councillor

The Parish Council is the tier of local government closest to the people.  As elected councillors, we are responsible for spending public money lawfully and without risk, and for achieving the best value for money and representing the views of the local community.

Bersted Parish Council is responsible for the Jubilee Hall, Jubilee field, the toddler play park, the Spinney and the Willow pond in North Bersted Street.

Parish Councillors have an opportunity to make a real difference to their community, at a small cost in time and effort.  Have you considered becoming a Parish Councillor? It may be easier and more rewarding than you think.  But what is involved? Here is some background information you might find interesting.

What does a parish councillor do?

Councillors represent the electors in their parish ward.  They are accessible to residents to listen to their concerns and to deal with them or to pass them for action to the appropriate authorities directly or via the Parish Clerk. 

Councillors may represent the Council on local bodies and in meetings with other authorities.  They help formulate responses to county or national consultations when relevant local issues are involved. 

Councillors can provide leadership on local initiatives.  In Bersted, councillors and residents put together the Neighbourhood Plan which identifies the key features that characterise the Parish and sets out how change can be managed to maintain the distinctiveness of the area.  The document serves as a guide for planning applications as well as a reference for the District Council on the Parish’s views. 

The championing of local projects and providing leadership over local issues is an important, and rewarding, aspect of a councillor’s role.  Persistence in dealing with the authorities and utilities is an essential virtue.  In everything they do, councillors need to bring integrity and common sense to their approach and look for viable, pragmatic outcomes that can be achieved.  All this work involves time, of course.  Meetings have to be attended.  Planning applications and other documents have to be reviewed.  The work load varies, but an average weekly estimate of 3–5 hours would be reasonable.  In return is the immense satisfaction of putting something back into the community. 

Councillors have substantial support in performing their duties.  First of all there is the Parish Clerk and Deputy Clerk.  These are paid positions, and provide experienced people to look after the administration of the council as well as to be on hand to offer advice and guidance to the councillors.

Training is available to the new councillor which is of high quality and covers all aspects of the role.  The Council acts very much as a team and fellow councillors are always there to support each other.  Help is also available from organisations such as SSALC (Sussex and Surrey County Association of Local Councils).

If you would like to know more please contact the Parish Clerk by emailing;- or writing to;- Clerk to the Parish Council, Bersted Jubilee Hall, Chalcraft Lane, North Bersted, Bognor Regis. PO21 5TU


Some guidance on the qualities the Council will be looking for in a candidate.




Personal Attributes

• An understanding of local affairs and the local community.   

• Forward Thinking

Can bring a new skill, expertise or key local knowledge to the Council.   

Experience, Skills, Knowledge and Ability

Ability to listen constructively

• A good team player 

• Ability to pick up and run with a variety of projects Solid Interest in local matters

• Ability and willingness to represent the Council and their community 

• Good interpersonal skills and able to contribute opinions at meetings whilst willing to see others views and accept majority decisions. 

 • Ability to communicate succinctly and clearly.   

• Ability and willingness to work closely with other members and to maintain good working relationships with all members and staff. 

 • Ability and willingness to work with the Council’s partners (e.g.  voluntary groups, other parish Councils, principal authority, charities). 

 • Ability and willingness to undertake induction training and other relevant training.

• Experience of working or being a member in a local authority or other public body 

• Experience of working with voluntary and or local community / interest groups 

• Basic knowledge of legal issues relating to town and parish Councils or local authorities 

• Experience of delivering presentations 



• Ability and willingness to attend meetings of the Council (or meetings of other local authorities and local bodies) at any time and events in the evening and at weekends