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Casual vacancies

If a vacancy arises on a town or parish council, due to an existing councillor's resignation, disqualification or death, there is a process to fill the vacancy. 

Process to fill a vacancy

  • The town or parish council will notify the Proper Officer of the vacancy. The Proper Officer, appointed by the local authority to manage and deliver the registration service. The Proper Officer for Waverley Borough Council is Tom Horwood, who is also Chief Executive.
  • The Proper Officer will send the parish council a Notice of Vacancy, which they have a duty to display for 14 working days, informing residents about the vacancy.
  • A Request to fill a vacancy must be in writing to :

The Proper Officer
Waverley Borough Council
The Burys
Godalming GU7 1 HR

Or by email to:

  • TEN electors from within the Parish Ward must write in to request an election to be called to fill the vacancy within 14 working days, otherwise the vacancy will be filled by co-option.

The Proper Officer is required to retain the document(s) requesting an election (Local Government Act 1972 Sec 225). Any document(s) lodged under (Local Government Act 1972 Sec 225) are required to be available for public inspection and copying (Local Government Act 1972 sec 228,5).

There are currently no Casual Vacancies.

An election will be held if ten residents, registered to vote in the area, write to the Proper Officer, requesting an election. 

  • If the vacancy occurs in the last six months before the ordinary election the parish council is required to give notice of the vacancy but an election is not held. The council may co-opt  (choose whoever they please to fill the vacancy, provided the person is qualified to serve as a councillor) or leave the vacancy unfilled until the next ordinary election. (LEPCR 2006, sec 5 (6)
  • Following an ordinary election if the parish council has the minimum number of councillors required (LGA 1972), then it must co-opt as soon as practicable to the remaining vacancies (RPA 1985, sec 21). If the vacancy to be filled remains vacant outside of the 35 day period then the district authority (Waverley) may intervene (RPA 1985, Sec 21 cites RPA 1983, Sec 40). However, even after 35 days, the parish council may co-opt without the need to advertise such vacancies if the Returning Officer indicates that he does not wish to invoke his powers to call an election. This is because the Notice of Election (now expired) has acted as the vacancy notice and there is no provision for a further notice to be advertised.


We will notify the town or parish council that an election has not been called and that they can choose to fill the vacancy. The person must be qualified to serve as a councillor. This is called co-option.

To qualify for election as a town or parish councillor, and to hold this position, you must be:

A British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union and on the relevant day (the day of nomination or election) have reached 18 years of age or over. They must also meet at least one of these four qualifications:

  • on the relevant day and thereafter they continue to be on the electoral register for the Parish
  • during the whole of the twelve months before that day, they have owned or tenanted land or premises in the parish
  • during the whole of the twelve months before that day their principal or only place of work has been in the parish
  • during the whole of the twelve months before that day, they have lived in the parish or within 4.8km (3 miles) of the parish boundary.​


You may be disqualified from standing (or being co-opted), if you are a paid officer or employee of that parish, have had bankruptcy restriction orders made against you or you have a previous criminal conviction with a prison sentence of three months or more.

If you are in any doubt whether you would be able to stand for election please contact Electoral Services on 01483 523116 or visit the Electoral Commission website for more information.