How do I become a Councillor?
Do you wish you could influence the way things are done in your area? Then why not stand to become a Councillor?
When is the next election?
The next district and parish council elections will take place in 2015, unless a by-election is called to fill a vacant seat.
What do Councillors do?
District Councillors are ordinary people from the district, elected to represent one of 34 wards for a term of four years. Depending on its size, each ward has one, two or three Councillors, sometimes referred to as Members, to represent the interests of the residents. As a Councillor, you will act as the link between the public and the Council as a whole. Much of your time will be spent dealing with problems and questions from the community.
Essentially, our Council Members are all people who wish to improve the effectiveness of local services in South Kesteven and represent the views of the people of their ward.
How can I become a Councillor?
To become a councillor, you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the council's wards.
Elections for all 58 seats on the District Council are held every 4 years. Sometimes an individual seat in a Ward becomes vacant in the intervening years and details are published as they occur.
Although the majority of candidates for these elections stand as representatives of political parties, anyone is entitled to stand as a candidate provided they meet the following principal qualifications.
Do I qualify to stand for election?
To stand for election as a District Councillor, you must be:
- At least 18 years of age;
- A British citizen, a citizen of another Commonwealth country or Irish Republic or of another member state of the European Union.
In addition, a candidate must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications on the day they are nominated and on polling day:
- they are registered as a local government elector for the District of South Kesteven;
- they have occupied as owner or tenant of any land or premises in the District of South Kesteven during the whole of the 12 months before the day they are nominated;
- their main or only place of work during the last 12 months has been in the District of South Kesteven;
- they have lived in the District of South Kesteven during the whole of the last 12 months.
Certain people are disqualified from being elected to a local authority. A person cannot be a candidate if they:
- hold any paid employment with or confirmed by the council; or
- have been adjudged bankrupt, or made a composition or arrangement with their creditors; or
- have within five years before the date of the election or since their election been convicted of any offence and have had passed on them a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than three months without option of a fine; or
- have been disqualified for having been found guilty of a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct for Local Authority Members; or
- are employed by a local authority in a politically restricted post, within the meaning of Part 1 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.
Parish and Town Council elections
The candidate qualifications are the same as above (but with reference to the District of South Kesteven replaced with reference to the relevant parish / town and qualification d) is amended to read "they have lived in (the relevant parish/town) during the whole of the last 12 months or within 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) of it at (insert address)".
Once you have decided to stand for election as a Councillor you will firstly need to wait for local elections to be called. The next scheduled elections are the district and parish elections in May 2015, unless a by-election is called due to a Councillor resignation, retirement or death.
Each candidate must be nominated by a separate nomination paper, signed by 10 registered electors (a proposer, seconder and eight assentors) of the Ward in which you are to stand. In the case of a parish election, you only need 2 registered electors (a proposer and seconder) to sign your nomination paper. Please note that the elector number of each of the people nominating you must be shown correctly against the person's name. A mistake could invalidate the nomination paper.
You must also submit your consent to nomination, which will need signing and witnessing.
If you are standing as a candidate for a registered political party you would also be required to submit a certificate, from the party's nominating officer, authorising your candidacy and use of the party's description and emblem.
All these documents must be submitted to the Returning Officer by 12 noon 19 working days before polling day.
No deposit is required to stand as a candidate in an election to a local authority such as South Kesteven.
Do I get time off work?
This depends on your employer. Some employers are good at encouraging their employees to be councillors and do allow time off within reason. You should always discuss this with your employer before standing as a councillor.
Will I get paid?
You will not get a salary but you will be entitled to receive certain allowances. The Council also provides other kinds of support such as full training, supplies of stationery and business cards and access to IT equipment.
How much time will it take?
It depends on how much time, effort and commitment individuals are able to give to the role. The minimum is likely to be the equivalent of one day per week although some councillors spend considerably more, especially if they have taken on leading roles.
Are there other elections in South Kesteven?
Yes there are; South Kesteven conducts European Parliamentary, UK Parliamentary, County, District and Parish Council elections.
Elections for Lincolnshire County Council electoral divisions that are within our district take place every 4 years.To become a councillor, you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the county's electoral divisions (there are currently 77 of them, 15 being in South Kesteven). The next elections for Lincolnshire County Council will be held in 2017.
Other elections are held in South Kesteven to select people to serve as Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Both of these elections have specific legislation and regulations that govern them.
Westminster Parliaments can last for up to 5 years and the next General Election is due to be held on 7 May 2015. South Kesteven comprises 3 Parliamentary Constituencies (one whole and two part), each returning an MP.
The European Parliament has a fixed term of 5 years and the next election will take place in 2014. South Kesteven is included with some other Local Authorities to form the East Midlands Region. A Regional Returning Officer is normally appointed to co-ordinate the election in this region.
Additional information on how to stand as a candidate in these elections and related issues can be obtained via The Electoral Commission website.
Where can I get more information?
More information about standing for election to the Council can be obtained from either the Elections Office at the Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham or further details regarding issues such as:
- the role of your election agent;
- the legal requirements which your campaign material must comply with;
- your campaign spending limits; or
- declaring your election expenses and donations
are available on the Electoral Commission website.
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