Parish Poll - Legal Position

Published: 18 March 2016

The Town Council understands there is considerable debate regarding the call for a Parish Poll, taken at the Electors’ Meeting on Monday 14th March.

In order to clarify the Town Council’s position, the rules governing Local Government Administration sets out the following rules for Parish Polls:

“A poll may be demanded not later than the end of the meeting on any question arising at it. Such a poll must be held only if ten or one-third of the electors present (whichever is the less) insist or if the person presiding at the meeting consents. It is essential that the wording of any question to be answered in the poll be settled before the meeting ends. The chairman must immediately notify the district council if a poll is required. It is held in accordance with rules made by the Secretary of State and the procedure is generally similar to the procedure for electing a local councillor.

The returning officer must appoint an officer for the purpose of the poll”.

As 10 or more electors at the meeting on Monday signed to say that they called for the Poll to take place, legally the Town Council has no choice but to proceed. It is not possible to run an online poll or similar. The Town Council has to act under the rules laid down by Government for their administration.

The costs of the Poll were not known at the time. The district council was contacted the day after the meeting and the Town Council was advised that due to two other elections taking place in the next three months or so, additional staff would have to be brought in to deal with the Parish Poll.

The cost of the Poll will need to found from within the Council’s resources.

For more information please contact Sue Holmes on 01243 825535 or email