A by-election is triggered when a casual vacancy occurs, generally as a result of a resignation, death or disqualification of a councillor.
However, where a casual vacancy in the office of a councillor occurs within six months before the day on which the councillor whose office is vacant would regularly have retired, then an election is not held. The exception to this would be if the number of unfilled vacancies exceeded one third of the total number of members.
The process for triggering a by election is:
The returning officer issues a Notice of Casual Vacancy. This is intended to publicise there is a vacancy. It is normally published in the relevant ward’s local library, the election notice board outside council’s council house. Lichfield St, Walsall. the electoral services office and council’s web site.
A “notice of vacancy” (pursuant to section 89(1) of the Local Government Act 1972), is then required to be delivered to the chief executive by two electors in the borough, asking for an election to be held within the ward to fill the vacancy. There is no legal format for the notice but a suggested format can be seen below.
This “notice” needs to be signed by two local government electors, however, they do not need to live within the ward to be contested but they must be registered within the Walsall borough.
The returning officer will set the date of the by-election and it must be within 35 days of receipt of this “notice”. Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a bank holiday and a day appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning are excluded form the 35 days.
Suggested form of Notice to request the filling of a casual vacancy.