The Bridge – image courtesy Chris George Photography (https://chrisgeorge.dphoto.com)
Election gives you a chance to work within the community and get to know the parish you live in. You'd also be involved in decisions that affect the Vale, including setting the rates, looking after parish property and generally promoting the parish and its best interests.
In short, there's far more to being involved in parish administration than checking hedges and streams – important though that is!
Officially, there are 10 ecclesiastical parishes in the island, possibly dating back to the 11th century, which act as civil administration districts while the main decision-making body in each parish is known as the Douzaine, which acts as an elected council.
By law, the parish Constables are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the parish, assisted by a small team of parish staff, while the Douzeniers are representatives of the parishioners and are responsible for the vision and direction of the parish and the transparency of its affairs.
This means becoming a douzenier provides a real opportunity to help shape the future of the parish and having a say in important issues like setting parish rates and spending some of the money raised to help improve the Vale.
What skills do I need?
Douzeniers are meant to represent their community so they can come from all walks of life. The more diversity the better so that there are a variety of voices around the table, fully representing the parish.
The main skill you need is a passion for your parish and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and dedicate time and energy to listening to your parishioners and working to improve your local community.
Different members of the Douzaine bring different perspectives. You may be an accountant so focus on the numbers. You may be a parent so understand the issues for local schools and playgrounds, parking and traffic. You may be good with social media and able to help with this website and our Twitter and Facebook feeds. The role is flexible, helping you to play to your strengths.
Douzaine meetings are held in the evenings, usually on the last Monday of the month, so it is possible to combine being a Douzenier with a full-time job or caring responsibilities. The meetings take place at the Douzaine Rooms and last about two hours.
Meetings of any sub-committees that you volunteer to join are held at a time that suits all the participants and there may be other meetings you become involved in with, say, States officials or Deputies where the parish needs to be represented at a grassroots level.
Am I eligible?
To be a Douzenier or Constable you must:
• Live in the parish
• Be on the electoral roll
• Be aged 18 or over
• Have lived in Guernsey for the previous two years or five years in total
• Have not been sentenced to more than six months in prison
Want to know some more?
Douzeniers are all friendly, approachable individuals and can be contacted here to discuss what it's like being elected to the Vale Douzaine.
Alternatively, please contact the office at Maraitaine Road, Vale, Guernsey, GY3 5QE or call us on 01481 244155 between Monday - Friday 10.00 - 13.00 or email: [email protected]
and we can tell you more and give you a nomination form for this year's elections.