Becoming a Councillor

  • Becoming a Councillor

Becoming a Councillor

Have you thought about becoming one of the 56 councillors for Thanet District Council?

Do you want to help get things done in your neighbourhood? Are you already active in your community? As a councillor, you can make a difference.

What does a Councillor do?

A councillor's role includes:

  • Representing your local ward
  • decision-making
  • policy and strategy review and development
  • overview and scrutiny
  • regulatory duties
  • community leadership and engagement.

The primary role of a councillor is to represent people and communities living in their ward in local government and to provide community leadership to champion local interests. As a councillor, you will be part of a public organisation that is increasingly taking on new responsibilities for working in partnership with other organisations across various services, to improve service delivery and the quality of life for local residents.

As a councillor, you will be expected to take steps to keep in touch with your community and to regularly attend Council meetings. Councillors may also be chosen to represent the Council on outside bodies (both local and national), which can include a wide range of trusts, associations and committees.

Feel free to attend Council meetings to find out how councillors conduct Council business and meeting dates can be found on the this link here: Council Meetings

The council has a role description for Councillors which is detailed in Article 2 of the constitution and is available here: [Councillor Role Description]

Why become a Councillor?

Being a councillor gives you the opportunity to influence decisions that are made regarding delivering services to residents in your area. This role puts you in a unique position where you can make decisions about local issues, key services being delivered and the opportunity to improve the quality of life for people living in Thanet.

Being a councillor is also a great way to share your skills and experiences while on the other hand gaining political experience and other useful skills in debating and problem solving.

Who can become a councillor?

You can become a councillor if:

  • you are over 18 on both polling day and the day of nomination;
  • you are a British, Commonwealth or European Union citizen and ;
  • you are either a registered local government elector in the Thanet district, or
    • you have resided in the area for the whole 12 months preceding the day of nomination or
    • you work in Thanet (and have for at least the past 12 months), or
    • you own a property in Thanet (and have for at least the past 12 months).

You could be disqualified as a candidate if:

  • you are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order;
    • you work for Thanet District Council, or hold a politically restricted post with another authority;
  • you have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the five years before election day;
  • you have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court.

For more information, please contact: electoral.services@thanet.gov.uk

How much do I need to know?

The main qualifications are an interest in your community and a willingness to learn. Knowledge, experience and confidence will soon follow. You will be offered a comprehensive induction to your role as a councillor and ongoing support and guidance about your personal development.

You will be contacted electronically when conducting council business. An electronic tablet will be issued to you to use to access council meeting documents and support will be given by ICT and Democratic Services staff on the how to access such documents.

Do I get paid? Am I entitled to any allowance/payments?

Councillors receive an annual basic allowance and certain approved duties are eligible for travel and/or subsistence allowances. Some members also receive a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) for particular leadership duties they undertake (for example, chairing a committee, being a Cabinet Member or Shadow Cabinet Member). In certain circumstances a carer’s allowance is available in respect of such expenses incurred with arranging the care of children or dependents associated with carrying out official business as a member.

See attached information for the current Member Allowance Scheme.

What other support will I get?

To help you carry out your duties you will be able to access advice from staff in Democratic Services as well as advice from the other professional officers of the Council. Comprehensive Member training is provided for all councillors, which covers both skills relating to specific committees as well as soft skills that councillors will use when carrying out their role. Such trainings are usually run throughout each year.

Councillors are entitled to a Dependents Carers Allowance when they attend council events to cover the costs of a registered carer to look after family members.

The Council offices in Margate are adapted for use by individuals with disabilities.

How much time will I have to spend on Council duties?

Councillors may spend between 12 and 15 hours each week on council work, but there are some variations. Those members with executive or chairing roles will have a greater workload and invariably will spend more time on council business.

Interested?

If you are thinking of standing, contact the Electoral Services Manager (see details below) who will be pleased to give you more information. Please note that the next Local Government Election will take place in May 2019.

Electoral Services Manager

Tel: 01843 577021

Email: electoral.services@thanet.gov.uk

For more information regarding meetings, or the duties of being a councillor please contact:

Committee Services Manager

Tel: 01843 577208

Email: committee@thanet.gov.uk

Further Reading