Standing as a candidate

Become a District Councillor

People become councillors for all manner of reasons. For some it's a completely new direction to take, for others it is the next step after being a member of a parish council, school governing body, political party or trade union.

But most want to:

  • make a difference to their local community and be involved in its future shape
  • ensure that their area gets the service it deserves
  • represent the views of local people and ensure they count

No specific qualifications are needed to become a councillor - life experience is the best thing to bring to the role. It's vital that members represent all sections of the community - we want to attract people from a broad range of backgrounds to stand as candidates.

All this information was true for the May 2019 election, but may be subject to change for future elections.

Who can become a councillor

To be able to stand as a candidate you must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the day of your nomination
  • be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other state of the European Union 
  • meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
    • You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the Hambleton area from the day of your nomination onwards.
    • You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Hambleton area 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 Hambleton area.
    • You have lived in the Hambleton area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.

You cannot be a candidate if at the time of your nomination and on the day of the election:

  • you are employed by Hambleton District Council
  • you hold a politically restricted post for another local authority
  • 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) or under the Audit Commission Act 1998.

How do I become a candidate?

A notice of election is published at the start of the election. This gives details of the electoral areas, date and time of election, the number of councillors to be elected, and the timetable for proposing a candidate - known as submitting nomination papers.

When the Notice of Election is published, a copy of the election timetable and a nomination pack can be obtained from the Electoral Services team. The pack will contain all the forms and information you will need to become a candidate. After the close of nominations, if there are more candidates than vacancies then an election will be held.

How much time is involved?

Each councillor will decide their own level of commitment to the role - and how much time they can devote to the job. It can be a matter of a few hours a day or a few hours a week - but it will depend on which committees they sit on. Some issues to consider before committing to the role are:

  • how being a councillor will impact on family and personal relationships - you will need their support as some of your free time will be occupied with council business
  • the people you represent will look to you for help so expect more post, emails and telephone calls - at all times of the day
  • you may need to spend some time visiting your constituents in their homes or at council offices. You may also need to meet council officers to discuss key issues
  • there are six full Council meetings a year which you are expected to attend - meetings start at 2pm and last for up to two hours
  • you will be a member of at least one Committee or be on Cabinet - most meetings are held during the day and last around two hours. These meetings may not be spread evenly over a month so some weeks may need more time than others. You can get an idea from the current calendar of meetings.
  • many councillors also represent the authority on outside bodies so there will be other meetings to attend
  • if you are elected as chairman of a committee more work and time will follow
  • many councillors attend meetings of their local parish councils on a regular basis
  • if you are a member of a political party there will be political group meetings to attend - usually in advance of council meetings
  • you may hold regular ‘ward surgeries’ with constituents

Allowances

There is no salary for being a councillor but there are allowances paid to reimburse time and expenses incurred while on council business.

Every Hambleton councillor is entitled to a basic allowance paid monthly along with additional payments to cover travelling and subsistence. Some councillors also get additional allowances to cover special responsibilities such as Cabinet members and Scrutiny Chairman. Child care costs are also addressed. Current allowances can be found here:

Support

A range of support is offered to councillors:

  • Information to help deal with ward matters and all other work done as a councillor will be provided by council officers. Senior officers and the chief executive will also provide guidance
  • you will be supplied with council IT equipment for use at home as you will be expected to communicate electronically with the council and the community
  • you will have access to fully equipped members rooms and meeting rooms based at the council offices

Training

As a newly elected councillor you will go through an induction training period where you can attend several courses.

The training programme will include:

  • an opportunity to meet senior officers
  • training courses on members allowances and support from committee services; local government finance; probity and integrity; ethical conduct and IT training
  • the opportunity to be mentored - linked with an experienced councillor
  • opportunities to attend seminars, workshops and training by other public bodies and local government organisations and authorities
  • scrutiny training.

Members of political groups may also find there is support and training provided by the group.

Do I have to belong to a political party?

Membership of a political party is not necessary although many councillors are members of a political party. Some people stand for election as independents.

Political parties contact details are available through the Register of Political Parties on the Electoral Commission website:

How do I get nominated to stand?

Nomination packs will become available when a Notice of Election has been published.

To be nominated you will need:

  • a ‘proposer’ - someone who will put your name forward as a candidate
  • a ‘seconder’ - someone who supports the proposal
  • eight ‘assentors’ - eight people who will agree to the proposal.

These ten people must be registered electors of the ward in which you wish to stand as a candidate.

You must also complete a ‘consent to nomination’. The Notice of Election will state the date by which the papers must be submitted to the Returning Officer. If you are a candidate for a registered political party, you must also have a certificate of authorisation and authorisation to use the party’s emblem if required. You can either appoint an election agent to manage your election campaign or, alternatively, you can act as your own agent. It is the candidate’s responsibility - or that of the agent - to present nomination papers to the Returning Officer before the deadline.

The election process, including what candidates may spend on their campaign, is set out in legislation, and it is the responsibility of candidates to ensure that they comply with the law. The nomination pack will contain guidance notes for candidates.

The legislation relating to elections is extensive. Candidates and election agents are advised to familiarise themselves with the provisions. The Returning Officer and his staff are available to give general advice to candidates and election agents. If you require advice please contact Electoral Services. Please note however, that the team will only provide generic advice.

Download

This information is available as a leaflet and can be found here:

Further information

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