What does it take to be a Councillor….?
This is a question I am often asked; the answer is simply an interest in the community you live in and a desire to make it the best it can possibly be.
I am quite often met with the response – ‘but I don’t have enough time’ or ‘I’m not qualified enough’.
My reply to that is no qualifications required. TTC prides itself on being diverse and ‘life experience’ along with being understanding and being prepared to listen are the best qualifications a councillor can have. Problem solving is also a good quality to have.
Time wise……. Obviously, the more time you can give the better and the more satisfaction you will get as an individual, but the minimum requirement is to attend monthly meetings including those of the committee you sit on, meeting are usually Tuesday evenings at 7pm so you will be looking at committing to two evenings a month. However sometimes life does throw things at us and it is acknowledged that this not always possible. There is a 6-month non- attendance rule whereby if you do not attend ANY meetings for 6 consecutive months you will be disqualified.
As councillors are volunteers many of them have other commitments such as work and family so some cannot always commit to hands on work such as organising events, attending litter picks etc but this doesn’t mean their ideas and what they bring to the table isn’t valuable, of course any extra time given is appreciate and enables the council to deliver on the whole.
The official bit……
You will need to fulfil certain criteria to be a councillor.
• be at least 18 years old
• be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union, and
• meet at least one of the following
You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the town in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination,
You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the town during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the town.
You have lived in the town or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
You are disqualified from applying for the following reasons:
- You are employed by the parish/community council or hold a paid office under the parish/community council (including joint boards or committees).
- You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order.
- You have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before polling day.
- You have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices and offences relating to donations).
When you become a councillor, you will have to complete an Acceptance of Office which includes you agreeing to abide by the councils Code of Conduct, which is based on seven principles which are:
- Selflessness – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
- Integrity – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
- Objectivity – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards or benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
- Accountability – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
- Openness – Holders of public office should be as open as possible about the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
- Honesty – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
- Leadership – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence.
You will also have to complete a Register of Interests and are obliged by law to declare any pecuniary interests should they arise.
With the upcoming elections on 6th May 2021 now is the time to become a councillor.
Information on how to apply is available on https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/elections-town-parish . Please note that the boundaries have recently changed, and you will have to stand for the ward you live in therefore take the time to check this.
Still not sure….?
Visit our website www.tidworthtowncouncil.gov.uk or our FB page to find out what we do.
Voting – remember to vote you need to be on the electoral register, because of the current restrictions people are being encouraged to register by post
Town and Parish Council Elections Thursday 6 May 2021
If you require any further information, please contact me and I will do my best to answer any questions.
Carly – Town Clerk firstname.lastname@example.org