Become a Councillor in Worcestershire
Ever thought of standing for election to Worcestershire County Council?
- Are you interested in helping your local community develop and grow?
- Are you ready to make a difference to the quality of other people's lives and influence the way things are done in your area?
- Are you already involved in local matters and want to take things further or looking for a way to way to help your community?
- Do you have local knowledge and commitment to make a real difference?
- Do you have the ability and skills to listen, debate and make a sound decision?
- Are you prepared to learn new things and develop your skills and knowledge?
- Could you devote time to and provide leadership within your community?
If you have answered, “yes” to any of the above questions, the following information should help you decide whether you'd consider standing for election as e a County Councillor.
County Council elections take place every four years. The last elections were held on Thursday, 4 May 2017, when all of the Council's 57 seats were contested. The next 'all out' elections will be held in May 2021. It is possible that some by-elections may take place in advance of May 2021 and details of these would be published on the Council's website: Elections (Worcestershire County Council website, opens in a new window).
What do County Councillors do?
The Council is led by democratically elected councillors who set the vision and direction of the Council. Worcestershire County Council is made up of 57 Councillors who represent 52 Electoral Divisions across the County. All Councillors are expected to represent and champion the interests of the community, businesses and constituents in their area. To achieve this as a Councillor you will need to:
- keep yourself informed about the needs of you area
- represent your division within the County Council and other bodies
- be accessible to the people in your area through regular surgeries and responding to letters, emails and phone calls
- play a leading role in your area and keep in contact with local groups and societies and, where they exist, parish councils
- keep the residents in your electoral division informed about your work
As well as the local representational role, Councillors participate in the political management of the council. Your role and responsibilities:
- will include being a member of the Council which agrees the budget and other policy issues
- may include developing and reviewing council policy and scrutinising decisions taken by the Cabinet
- may include serving on Committees or Panels which have a regulatory, quasi-judicial and statutory duties e.g Planning Committee
Most meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend if you would like to see how the council’s political structures operate. A timetable of meetings is available on the council’s website and many of the public meetings are also webcast – you can access the information at Councillors and Committees (Worcestershire County Council website, opens in a new window).
Councillors may also be appointed to represent the council on a wide range of local, regional and national organisations.
Who can become a Councillor?
Almost anyone can stand for election, you do not have to live in the Electoral Division you are seeking to represent, but you must be:
- at least 18 on the day of nomination
- a British subject or EU citizen, a citizen of the Irish Republic or a qualifying Commonwealth citizen
- an elector within the County or have lived, worked or owned a property in Worcestershire for at least 12 months immediately preceding nomination and election
A candidate can be disqualified if:
- they are an undischarged bankrupt
- they have a criminal conviction, which carried a prison sentence of 3 months or more, in the previous 5 years
- they work for Worcestershire County Council, or hold a politically restricted post with another authority
How much do I need to know?
Councillors come from a variety of backgrounds. You don't have to have any specific academic qualifications or have a profession. You may have gained valuable skills and knowledge through working life, personal or community experiences.
Having, or being able to develop the following skills, knowledge and attributes will help you in the role:
- Communications Skills, including: listening and interpersonal skills, public speaking skills, ability to consider alternative points of view and to negotiate, mediate and resolve conflict
- Problem solving and analytical skills including: considering the advantages and disadvantages of each option, getting to the bottom of an issue and to think of different ways to resolve it
- Team Working including being able to work with others in meetings and complete tasks on time
- Organisational Skills including being able to plan and manage your time, keep appointments and meet deadlines
- Ability to engage with your local community including making yourself availvle through meetings, the media, public forums and on the telephone.
If you are elected you would be offered training to help you carry out your duties and support from the Council and your political group (if appropriate). The Council places a great emphasis on training/development and expects Councillors to actively participate in appropriate opportunities, which can help develop the skills and abilities necessary to remain an effective Councillor.
What training and development can I expect to receive?
There will be a programme of induction and training sessions for new Councillors after the elections.
What is the time commitment?
This will depend on your roles and responsibilities; the work of a Councillor can vary from a few hours each week to several hours each day according to the commitments you take on. In addition to your work in the community, there will be Council meetings, briefings and training and development events to attend, most of which will be held at County Hall in Worcester.
The majority of meetings take place during the working day so, if you are in employment, you will need to discuss the time commitment with your employer. The number and length of meetings does vary.
For most of the meetings you attend there will be associated papers, which you will need to read beforehand. In line with the council’s policy on sustainability and commitment to the use of ICT, many of these will be circulated electronically. Other calls on your time may involve evidence gathering and research in respect of scrutiny exercises.
If you are a member of a political party you will also be expected to attend political group meetings, party training and other events.
What support can I expect to receive?
Councillors are supported by officers who will provide you with assistance with your community leadership role, acting as your link both with council directorates and partner organisations.
The majority of council business is now being transacted electronically. To ensure that you are kept fully involved and informed, you will need to use these systems. Officers will be on hand to assist with any questions you may have in relation to ICT equipment. You will be provided with a dedicated e.mail address to which all e.mails from the Council will be sent and which will be published to the public.
You will receive a Broadband allowance of £253.00 payable monthly.
Will I get paid?
Councillors are not paid a salary but receive a Basic Allowance (currently £9,245.00), paid in monthly instalments, for the time and expense incurred whilst on Council business. It also covers incidental costs such as the use of your home, ICT equipment, handheld devises and telephone.
In addition you are able to claim travel and, in some cases, subsistence, for your attendance at certain “approved events”. A Carers and Dependants Allowance can also be claimed to recompense those Councillors who incur expenditure for the care of children or other dependents. Some Councillors also receive a Special Responsibility Allowance in recognition of particular responsibilities they hold.
If you are thinking of standing as a candidate for a particular political party, then you should first get in touch with that party’s local organisation. If you plan to stand as an independent candidate, your local Elections Officer (details below) will be pleased to give you further information.
- Bromsgrove or Redditch - email: email@example.com, telephone: 01527 881421
- Malvern Hills - email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 01684 862259
- Worcester City - email: email@example.com, telephone: 01905 722530
- Wychavon - email: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 01386 565437
- Wyre Forest - email: email@example.com, telephone: 01562 732762
Approximately five weeks before the election, Public Notices are issued and these will give you information about what you need to do to get your name on the ballot paper.
The Council’s website provides information on council activities. Further details on the democratic structures and arrangements can be found within the 'Council, Democracy and Councillor Information' section (Worcestershire County Council website, opens in a new window).