Becoming a County Councillor
Be a local councillor
Whatever needs changing in your neighbourhood, you could be just the person to make it happen by becoming a local councillor. No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to quality of life for people in your local area.
In March 2013, a Notice of Election will be published in public places throughout the County, letting you; the public know that the process of election to Gloucestershire County Council has begun. The election itself is taking place on 2nd May 2013. All 53 county divisions are up for election, and if chosen, councillors (also known as elected members) will serve four year terms of office. The number of divisions has reduced from 63-53 due to boundary changes effective May 2013. Find your division..
What do Councillors do?
As representatives entrusted with the responsibilities and privilege of public office, the successful candidates will have important roles to carry out on behalf of their constituents and the county as a whole. As members of full Council, all councillors will work to plan, run, monitor and develop Council business by helping to decide what is in the public interest, and spend time dealing with the concerns and issues of their residents. Some will also serve on the Cabinet, scrutiny committees or a regulatory committee.
They will act as advocates and decision makers by:
- listening to and representing the views of residents in their division;
- helping individual residents with specific issues (know as casework);
- working to make sure services are delivered effectively in their division;
- working with other community leaders in the voluntary, community and business sectors;
- helping to develop policy, particularly the Council's budget and council tax level;
- helping to set the long-term strategic direction of the Council, and working with partners, the County;
- making decisions by majority within Cabinet and full Council;
- challenging the Council's decisions as part of the scrutiny process.
Find out more about what it is like to be an elected councillor..
For information on what the County Council does.
Who can become a Councillor?
To stand for election to the County Council, on the day of nomination (5th April 2013) you must be:
- 18 or over;
- a UK, EU or Commonwealth citizen;
- registered to vote in one of the six district councils (Cheltenham Borough, Cotswold District, Forest of Dean District, Gloucester City, Stroud District or Tewkesbury Borough); or for 12 months preceding you must have occupied as owner or tenant, any land or premises in the Gloucestershire County Council area or worked (as principal employment) in the Gloucestershire County area; and
- willing and able to live up to Gloucestershire County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, embodied by the seven Nolan principles of public life which are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honestly and leadership.
You cannot stand if you:
- work for Gloucestershire County Council;
- hold a politically restricted post for another authority;
- are bankrupt;
- have served a prison sentence (including suspended) or 3 months or more within 5 years prior to the election;
- have been disqualified under any legislation relating to corrupt or illegal practices;
- are an alien (i.e. a person who is not a British subject) or a person of unsound mind: or
- have been surcharged in excess of £2000 by the auditor or court.
You do not need any specific educational or professional qualifications or belong to a political party or group to stand for election.
Will you get paid?
No, being a Councillor is a voluntary public service. However, there is a basic allowance (currently £8,800 per year), and councillors who are appointed to Cabinet or special jobs get further allowances to cover their additional responsibilities. There is also reimbursement for travel and subsistence.
What is the time commitment like?
You will need to have time to attend meetings in Gloucester and elsewhere, (usually during office hours), read and understand lots of information in preparation for meetings, and to work in your division alongside any personal and work commitments you have.
If you are elected or appointed to a senior position, such as Leader or Cabinet member, time commitments can become very demanding and be equal to a full-time job.
Will you get time off work?
Yes, by law you must be allowed a 'reasonable' amount of time off to carry out your duties. The time you require will depend upon your responsibilities and the effect of your absence on your employer's business. You should discuss this with your employer before making the commitment to be a Councillor.
What support will you receive if elected?
The Council employs Democratic Services staff to support and advise you in your role as a County Councillor and will help you to understand the decision making process and put into practice the decisions that you have helped shape.
In the county we are very keen to promote the use of electronic working as a main communication tool. All members will have access to a computer to read emails and work effectively.
All elected members will also have the opportunity to take part in a thorough Induction Programme. This will help you understand what is expected of you. It will also help you to understand how the county council works and what services it provides.
How to become a Councillor?
If you'd like to stand for election, you will need to contact your local district council for a nomination paper as soon as the Notice of Election is published in March.
Your nomination papers, when returned to your district council no later than 19 working days before the election, (12 noon 5th April), must include:
- your full name and address;
- the signature of your proposer and seconder and eight assentors (other electors supporting the nomination). All must be registered and eligible to vote at the election within the division for which the nomination is submitted.
What does it cost to stand for election as a County Councillor and who pays?
There is no charge for standing for election as a County Councillor; however, you might want to spend money on your campaign. There is no public money available for this so you will have to consider how your publicity costs and other expenses will be covered before standing for election. If you are running as a party candidate, there could be financial help available to you from them.
Do you need an election agent?
No. You can take on this role yourself, but might find it helpful to have an agent. It is the agent's responsibility to ensure that papers etc are sent to district councils at the correct times, and to keep an accurate record of expenses and submit this after the election. If you are running as a party candidate, your election agent could be shared with other candidates.
What are polling agents and counting agents?
Polling agents are people you can nominate to go into polling stations to ensure that the polling stations are being run fairly.
Counting agents are nominated to attend the count to ensure a fair and accurate count of votes.
If you have any more questions about the nomination process, please contact the Elections Office at your local district council
For all other questions about becoming a County Councillor contact
Lead Democratic Services Advisor
Gloucestershire County Council
Tel: 01452 425230
Elections Team contact information
Cheltenham Borough Council
Tel: 01242 264132
Cotswold District Council,
Tel: 01285 623 000
Forest of Dean
Forest of Dean District Council
Tel: 01594 810000
Gloucester City Council
Tel: 01452 396396
Stroud District Council,
Tel: 01453 754887
Tewkesbury Borough Council
Tel: 01684 272601