As a councillor, your constituents will look to you to have a wide ranging knowledge of the Council, the Borough and associated organisations (e.g. the County Council). However, there may be scope for you to develop specialisations on topics which interest you within your political group. There are many working groups, panels and other meetings to attend as well as briefings on certain relevant topics.
Again your political group (should you decide to join one) will be able to advise you how you might be able to pursue this. However, it is still important to keep up with Council issues generally on behalf of your residents.
Most of the information sent out to members is done via e-mail and posted on the website. Members are encouraged to check their e-mail regularly and respond to officers. Many residents also contact Councillors via e-mail. Some knowledge of internet and e-mail would be useful but training can be provided.
Charnwood Borough Council elects all its councillors every four years and each serves a four year term.
Each political party selects candidates to stand in every ward or sometimes independent candidates stand. The Councillor who has come to the end of their term may wish to stand again for another term of office or may stand down.
You will need to contact your local political party directly to discuss becoming a candidate if you wish to represent them.
The Electoral Commission provides information about elections in England, including comprehensive guidance for potential candidates. A link to the Electoral Commission website can be found in the External websites section below.
Links to the websites of the local parties currently represented in the Council are below.
It is difficult to quantify but should not be underestimated. Representing residents, attending committees and local organisations’ meetings will take up your time. However, people who have full time jobs and family commitments do manage it – it is challenging but also rewarding! You will need support from your family and personal relationships in this demanding role which can take up a lot of your spare time.
Residents will contact you by telephone, letter and e-mail and may not call at what you consider to be a ‘reasonable hour’. They will be looking for your help with their problems. You may also spend time visiting residents in their homes or at the Council Offices.
If you take on more advanced roles as a councillor, for example, chairing a committee, becoming a Group Leader or even a Cabinet Lead Member the demands on your time will increase.
Each committee you serve on will have reports which will be sent to you prior to the meeting for you to consider. Again, some committees are more demanding than others. For example, members of the Planning Committee may wish to visit the site of a proposed application and there will also be letters from residents to read.
Some committees also meet more often than others, for example Planning Committee and Cabinet meet every three weeks, other committees bi-monthly. Some may only meet when they are needed.
Committees start at 6.00pm or 6.30pm and generally last 1 to 2 hours.
If you are a member of a political party then there will also be additional meetings and work that you will be expected to be involved with.
Managing and prioritising your time will be a key skill to be developed whilst you are a councillor as there are many demands on your time and a great deal of information to take in. However, the rewards of helping people and making a difference in the community keep people coming back to stand for this role and making a successful contribution to the life of Charnwood.
There are many reasons why people become councillors – to represent their community, raise an issue they feel passionate about, follow political ambitions or use their skills to help shape the future of the Council.
Councillors, also known as Elected Members, can come from many different backgrounds. In fact it is best if councillors are diverse to represent the nature of the public they are elected to serve.
Councillors do not need any qualifications; they come from a variety of backgrounds and if anything, life experience is the most important attribute a councillor can bring to the role.
- You must be over 18, a UK, EU or Commonwealth Citizen. You must also have been registered to vote in or have either worked or lived in the Borough for at least twelve months.
- Belonging to a political party is not necessary although the majority of people become councillors through this route. Some people stand as an independent separate from political parties.
- There are currently 52 Charnwood councillors: 32 Conservative, 13 Labour, 5 Liberal Democrat, 1 British National Party and 1 Independent.
Help to strengthen local democracy, represent local views and get involved with decision making – become a Councillor!
Being a Councillor is a challenging and rewarding role, it is an opportunity to work with local residents and help them with their problems and local issues.
Charnwood Borough Council is a democratic organisation. It comprises of 52 councillors who are responsible for agreeing policies about provision of services and how the Council's money is spent. The Council employs officers who are responsible for its day to day management.
Councillors decide which policies the Council should pursue, ensure that they are carried out and monitor services provided to ensure that they are delivered in the most efficient and effective way.
The local Councillor is there to represent the views and opinions of individuals. It is also his or her responsibility to help those with difficulties which the Council could help solve. Charnwood Borough Council Councillors decide how the Council should carry out its many important functions.
Local Councillors are elected by the community to decide how the Council should carry out its various activities. They represent public interest as well as individuals living within the ward in which he or she has been elected to serve a term of office.
To do this they have regular contact with the general public through either Council meetings, telephone calls or surgeries. Surgeries provide an opportunity for any ward resident to go and talk their councillor face to face and these can take place on a regular basis.
None of the councillors receive a salary. However, each councillor receives a basic allowance of £4,772 pa. If you have a position of responsibility (e.g. Chair of a committee) you may receive an additional Special Responsibility Allowance. The Scheme of Members’ Allowances gives more detail and lists the specific allowances.
The allowance is designed to cover expenses you incur as a councillor e.g., postage and telephone calls and also as compensation for any time you have to take off work for Council business. There are also allowances that can be claimed for travelling and subsistence and for the care of dependents whilst you are at meetings.
We will also let you have a Council laptop and printer and we will install broad band in your home if you do not have a suitable existing line. If you do have a line you can claim an allowance to help cover the cost of the line rental.
Yes, once you are elected there is an induction programme for all new Members. During this you will receive an overview of the Council from lead officers and also have a tour of the Council offices and other key sites.
During the year there is an ongoing training programme and there is mandatory training for those councillors who serve on committees such as Planning, Licensing and Audit. All councillors are encouraged to regularly attend Code of Conduct training (the Code of Conduct for Members is part of the Council’s Constitution).
We have recently undertaken a programme of personal development plans for Councillors. This is where each member will have a confidential discussion with the Head of Democratic Services about how they are getting on in their role, their training needs and their ambitions for the future. From these plans a training programme is drawn up for councillors.
Last updated: Thu 25th September, 2014 @ 16:55