Representing your community by becoming a Town Councillor
- Do you ever find yourself complaining about things in your local neighbourhood?
- Do you ever say “Why doesn’’t the Council do something about it?”
- Are you prepared to try and change things and put something back into your community?
If the answer to these questions is YES, – have you ever thought of standing for election to your local Parish or Town Council?
What is a Councillor?
Town Councillors represent the people living in their local area at the closest level to the community. When decisions are being made they are there to put your views across. Councillors are elected to represent an individual geographical unit on the council, known as a ward. They are elected by the public every 4 years. Town Councillors are willing to volunteer their time for the benefit of the community and as such this is an unpaid role.
What do Councillors do?
Councillors’ duties encompass many and varied topics, but in the main they can be summarised as:
- Decision Making – Through meetings and attending committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
- Monitoring – Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
- Getting Involved Locally – As local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. These responsibilities and duties often depend on what the Councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available.
Visiting the Council is the best way to find out what happens at Meetings. A list of upcoming Ilfracombe Town Council Meetings is held in the window of The Ilfracombe Centre and also on the Ilfracombe Town Council Website www.theilfracombecentre.co.uk. Members of the public are welcome at all of these meetings.
For a full list of powers and duties for Town Councils please visit www.nalc.gov.uk
How much time will it take up?
Of course the exact amount of time that is involved as a local Councillor will depend on what commitment you can make. Ilfracombe Town Council holds one annual meeting and 12 Full Council meetings per year. In addition to these, members would be expected to join either the Planning or Finance Committees, whose meetings are held monthly. Other areas where councillors may get involved could be attending meetings of local organisations, and taking up issues on behalf of members of the public.
What qualifications do I need to be a Councillor?
You have to be:
- a British subject, or a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Union; and
- on the ‘relevant date’ (i.e. the day on which you are nominated or if there is a poll the day of the election) 18 years of age or over.
- on the ‘relevant day’ a local government elector for the council area for which you want to stand; or
- have during the whole of the 12 months preceding that day occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the council area; or
- have during that same period had your principal or only place of work in the council area; or
- during that 12 month period resided in the council area.
- There are some instances that would disqualify you from becoming a councillor, these details and further information on becoming a Councillor can be found at www.nalc.gov.uk
How do I become a Councillor?
Town Councillors are elected by the public at Local Council Elections and serve four-year terms. The nomination process and appropriate forms (the nomination paper and the candidate’s consent to nomination) must be completed and returned in the prescribed timescales.
Forms will be available from the Returning Officer, North Devon Council, the Civic Centre Barnstaple EX31 1EA.
A ‘casual vacancy’ may arise during the 4 year term (e.g. if an existing councillor resigns). In this instance and dependant on circumstances, a poll may be called or the vacancy may be filled by co-option.
When are the next elections going to be held?
The next election for Ilfracombe Town Council will be held in May 2015.
I need some further information, where can I get it from?
You can obtain further information by contacting Pauline Williams, Responsible Finanical Officer for Ilfracombe Town Council on 01271 855317 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org