How to become a councillor

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How to become a councillor

What is a councillor?

A councillor is someone who is elected by local people to represent them on a local council. In Rother you can be elected to a parish or town council, the district council and East Sussex County Council. Councillors are elected for a 4 year term. You do not have to restrict yourself to one council - some district councillors are also county and parish councillors.

What do councillors do?

Councillors make and review decisions on how council services are provided and deal with issues brought to them by the people who live in their ward. They also act as a representative of all the people within their area and need to balance local concerns and issues against the needs of the District as a whole.

How much time does it take up?

It depends on how much time, effort and commitment you are able to give to the role. The minimum is likely to be the equivalent of 1 day per week. Some councillors spend considerably more time than this, especially if they have taken on a leading role.

Will I get paid?

You will not get a salary but you will be entitled to allowances. All Rother Councillors currently receive a basic allowance, as well as travelling and subsistence expenses. Councillors with special responsibilities (such as members of the council's cabinet and chairmen of committees) will receive additional allowances. Details of the allowances payable are set out within Part 6 of the Council's Constitution.

pdf icon The Constitution of Rother District Council [256kb]

The Council also provides other kinds of support such as training, supplies of stationery and access to a councillors' library containing lots of useful information and training materials. We offer home-based computing equipment and broadband internet access to help councillors in their work.

Do I get time off work?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 requires employers to allow staff a reasonable amount of time off for their work as a councillor. The details obviously have to be worked out with your employer. Many employers recognise that the skills people develop as councillors are also very useful in the workplace and do what they can to support their councillor employees. You should however always discuss this with your employer before standing as a councillor.

Do I have to be political?

No. You do not have to be identified with a political party, although most councillors are. Rother District Council is currently represented by councillors from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat political parties. We also have a group of 3 independent councillors, as well as 1 individual independent (non-group) councillor.

How do I become a councillor?

To become a councillor, you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the District's 20 wards.  The next elections for parishes and the District Council will be in May 2019.

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 or over
  • included on the register of electors for Rother 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:

  • 2 electors of the electoral division (as your proposer and seconder)
  • 8 other electors (supporting your nomination).

An 'elector' is anyone who is on the register of electors for that division.

Nomination papers will be available from the Council's Electoral Registration Section at the Town Hall, Bexhill email elections@rother.gov.uk or telephone 01424 787826.

How can I learn more about becoming a councillor?

Contact the Council's Democratic Services Team on 01424 787813 for a general discussion about what is involved or talk to the political parties directly.  See the offsite links to the 3 main political parties at the bottom of this page.

Rother has been working closely with South East Employers and other authorities in the South East Region to ensure as much information as possible is available to anyone interested in standing as a Councillor. Please visit the South East Employers website for further information.

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