Local elections (borough, county and parish)

Casual vacancies and by-elections

When a councillor resigns or is no longer qualified to be a councillor, it creates a vacant seat. This is called a casual vacancy.

When a casual vacancy occurs (most commonly on parish and town councils) it must be advertised, but it is not like an ordinary job vacancy that you can apply for. The vacancy is advertised so that registered electors from the relevant area can request that it is filled by having an election. This is called a by-election.

The relevant council must publish a notice of vacancy which describes how electors can make their requests and how many requests are required. The rules for borough councils and for parish and town councils are different. You can find current notices of vacancy published on the current elections page.

If a by-election is requested, a date will be set and information about how to stand as a candidate, where you can vote in person and how to apply for an absent vote will be published on the current elections page.
If no requests for an election are received for a vacancy that has occurred on parish council within the specified notice period, then the parish council can appoint someone themselves to fill the seat. This process is called co-option and each parish may have their own way of doing this. For more information, you can contact your local parish council

If a casual vacancy arises within six months of the next scheduled elections for that council, then the seat may remain vacant until those elections, or, in the case of a parish council, they may co-opt a new councillor.

Last updated: 02/06/2023 15:27