How to become a councillor
About the role
A Councillor is someone who is elected by local people to represent them on a council. You can be elected to be a parish councillor or a member of the Council. Councillors are elected for a four year term. If Councillors are elected at a by-election, they will serve until the next scheduled elections take place.
To become a Councillor, you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the Council's wards.
If you wish to stand for election you must be:
- A British Citizen, a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or of another European Union State;
- 18 years of age; and
- included on the Register of Electors for the area or be someone who has either lived or worked in the county for the 12 months preceding the election.
You need to be nominated to stand as a candidate at the election by:
- two electors of the electoral ward (as your proposer and seconder) and
- eight other electors (supporting your nomination).
You do not have to stand as a member of a political party, you can stand as an independent candidate.
Role and responsibilities of councillors
Councillors in Cheshire West and Chester undertake many roles, examples of which are listed below.
- Speaking on behalf of the Council as a whole
- Public consultation and campaigning
- Policy formulation and making decisions, particularly major decisions affecting the area
- Preparing for, travelling to and attending meetings of the Council and its committees etc
- Dealing with constituency issues/surgeries etc
- Attending political group meetings
- Attending public meetings and speaking as a community spokesperson
- Meetings with external agencies, private, public and voluntary sector groups
- Service and performance monitoring
- Acting as a chairperson/spokesperson
- Acting as an ambassador on behalf of the area in a regional, national and international context
- Acting as a group leader/deputy leader of a political group on the Council
- Attending workshops, conferences, seminars, training course
- Being responsible as an employer for a large public sector organisation and being able to work in a "business" environment with modern office systems
The roles of Councillors in Cheshire West and Chester are wide and varied and require substantial support from the organisation.
The Council continues to enhance its support services, particularly in terms of research/administrative support and appropriate accommodation both for individual members' needs and for the political groups as a whole. This will make them more effective in their many roles and so benefit the area.
How much time will it take?
It depends on how much time, effort and commitment individuals are able to give to the role. The minimum is likely to be the equivalent of one day per week although some Councillors spend considerably more, especially if they have taken on leading roles.
Will I get paid?
You will not get a salary but you will be entitled to receive allowances. The Council also provides other kinds of support such as full training and access to IT equipment.
Do I get time off work?
This depends on your employer. Some employers are good at encouraging their employees to be Councillors and do allow time off within reason. You should always discuss this with your employer before standing as a Councillor.