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Becoming a Councillor

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Have you thought about becoming a District or Parish Councillor?

Be a Councillor Event - Monday 14 October 2019.

If you have a keen interest in your local community, can spare some time and are passionate about making a difference in the Stroud District, please join us to learn more about what being a Councillor entails at an event being held on Monday 14 October 2019 in the Council Chamber at Stroud District Council Offices, Ebley Mill.

We will be holding two sessions, one for individuals who are interested in becoming a District Councillor and another for those interested in becoming a Parish/Town Councillor.

The event promises to be an excellent opportunity for members of the public to discover what it is like to be a Councillor, lean more about the Council and understand what support can be provided to Councillors.  

  • The event for prospective Parish/Town Councillors will start promptly at 5.30pm
  • The event for prospective District Councillors will start promptly at 6.30pm.


Please register your interest by emailing democratic.services@stroud.gov.uk

 

Police and Crime Commissioner and Local Government Elections are taking place in Stroud on Thursday 7 May 2020.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Councillors are elected to represent a number of local residents in their electoral area. Councillors represent everyone in their area and not just those who voted for them, they have responsibilities to their ward, the Council and the community as a whole. You will be part of a public organisation which is working in partnership with other organisations across various services as well as improving service delivery and quality of life for local residents.

As a Councillor you will be expected to regularly attend Council meetings and be actively involved with your community. Councillors may also be chosen to represent the Council on Committees and outside bodies.

A Councillor's role includes:

  • Representing your local ward
  • Advise residents of the Council services available
  • Attend Parish/Town Council meetings as appropriate
  • Help develop the Council's budget and agree the level of Council Tax
  • Regularly attend training to ensure knowledge is kept up to date
  • Decision making
  • Policy and strategy review and development
  • Regulatory duties
  • Community leadership and engagement.

People become Councillors for a variety of reasons. Some want to give something back to the community, to further their interest in politics or to represent local people and try to influence decisions affecting their area.

No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to the quality of life of people in your local area and influence the way issues are dealt with locally and across the Stroud District.

In addition to wanting to make a difference to the District, people may become a Councillor for the following reasons:

  • Having a concern about a specific issue and wanting to do something about it
  • In a time of scarce resources, having good ideas for doing more with less
  • To contribute business or professional skills
  • As an extension to what you are already doing through a charity, voluntary group or school governing body
  • It can be a career enhancing opportunity, allowing you to develop leadership and analytical skills.

 

You can be a Councillor for several Councils at the same time, such as a County Council, District Council and Parish/Town Council. You can also be a Councillor if you have a full time job and by law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your duties as a Councillor.

You cannot stand for election as either a District or Parish/town Councillor if you already work for the Council, are subject to bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order, have a criminal conviction involving a prison sentence or suspended sentence of not less than 3 months in the last 5 years or have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court.

You do not need to belong to a political party to stand for election.

District Councillor

You can stand as a candidate to become a District Councillor if:

  • You are over 18 or over on the day you submit your nomination paper and are a British, Commonwealth or European Union Citizen;

And at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Are either a registered local government elector in the electoral area you are wanting to stand as a candidate, or
  • Have resided in the area for the whole 12 months preceding the day of nominations, or
  • Work in the electoral area you wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
  • Own property in the electoral area you are wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months).

Parish/Town Councillor

You can stand as a candidate to become a Parish/Town Councillor if:

  • You are over 18 or over on the day you submit your nomination paper and are a British, Commonwealth or European Union Citizen

And at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Are either a registered local government elector in the electoral area you are wanting to stand as a candidate, or
  • Have resided in the area for the whole 12 months preceding the day of nominations, or
  • Work in the electoral area you wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
  • Own property in the electoral area you are wanting to stand (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
  • For the whole of the previous 12 months you have lived in the Parish/Town or within 3 miles of the boundary.

There is no salary for being a Councillor, however, District Councillors currently receive a basic allowance of £5,477 which is intended to recognise the time devoted by them to their work and will cover basic resources.

In addition to the basic allowance above, District Councillors are able to claim travel expenses and in some cases subsistence expenses, an IT allowance and dependants' carers' allowance.

Some District Councillors also receive a special responsibility allowance in recognition of particular duties they undertake e.g. if they are the Leader of the Council or a Chair of a Committee.

Councillors are generally taxed and pay National Insurance on their allowances. Travelling expenses and other expenses incurred as part of a Councillors duties, including mileage and subsistence allowances are paid to levels agreed by the Council and are not taxable.

As a District Councillor, to assist you in carrying out your duties you will be able to access advice from Democratic Services as well a range of officers at the Council.

District Councillors will be required to undertake ongoing member development training throughout their term as a Councillor. Councillors may also request permission to attend external training seminars and conferences which the Council may be able to fund. 

Comprehensive Member Induction Training is also provided to all District Councillors which covers numerous topics and include some of the following:

  • Council Finance
  • GDPR and Data Protection
  • Introduction to Planning
  • Chair and public speaking
  • Code of conduct
  • Licensing
  • Introduction to Housing and Development

 

How much time you spend on your duties as a Councillor is largely up to you and will depend on the particular commitments you take on.

Each Councillor will spend varying amounts of time on their Councillor work, however generally a Councillor will spend up to 25 hours a week on Council work.

Members with Group Leader or Chairing roles will have greater workload and therefore will invariably spend additional hours on their Council work.

You will be expected to attend Committee meetings, information briefings and training sessions which are often held during the evening, however there may be meetings with Officers that you are required to attend during the day. As with most things in life, what you get back will depend on how much you put in.

Before you consider becoming a Councillor, you may wish to discuss it with your family and friends to make sure they understand the commitment you are taking on.

 

Elections are held for District and Parish/Town Councillors every four years where all seats will be re-elected at the same time. The next local elections in Stroud are taking place in May 2020.

To stand as a candidate, you will need to complete a set of nomination papers for the electoral area you are wanting to represent. These will be available from your local Parish/Town Council or from Stroud District Council's Offices from the beginning of February 2020. The Democratic Services and Elections Office will be able to answer any questions you may have in relation to the nomination process as will the Parish/Town Clerk.

When you complete your nomination papers, you will need to show that you have been formally nominated by a particular number of registered electors in the electoral area you are wishing to stand. These are as follows:

  • District Elections - A proposer and seconder in addition to eight other registered electors who support your nomination in the District ward you are wanting to represent.
  • Parish/Town Elections - A proposer and seconder who support your nomination in the Parish/Town or Parish Ward (if the Parish/Town is warded) you are wanting to represent.

If you are thinking of standing as a candidate on behalf of a political party, you must contact the local branch of that party first, as they may be in the process of selecting candidates for future elections. You will also need to have consent from the party to stand on their behalf and obtain a signature from the nominating officer.

You do not need to stand on behalf of a political party to be a District or Parish/Town Councillor. If you want to stand independently as a District Councillor, you must use the description 'Independent' on your nomination form.

Further guidance for candidates standing as an Independent or on behalf of a political party can be found on the Electoral Commission website at both District and Parish/Town level.

 

Further information is available on the following websites:

You can also email us on elections@stroud.gov.uk if you require further guidance.

 

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