What matters to you in your local area? Is it providing more things for young people to do, improving services for older people, making the roads safer or ensuring that local businesses can thrive? Whatever needs changing in your local area, you could be the person to change it by becoming a county councillor.
East Sussex County Council can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it. The Council needs councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people and a passion for change.
Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing the population of over half a million across East Sussex, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.
If you think being a East Sussex county councillor is for you, test your eligibility to stand and find out more.
County councillors are the elected representatives of East Sussex County Council. They are elected for four years unless they are elected at a by-election, in which case they must stand again at the next normal election for the seat.
Representing people in East Sussex, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action is the most important task that any councillor undertakes. Significantly, it is also often the role that local people value most.
East Sussex County Council covers a large geographical area, which, was broken down into 50 electoral divisions in May 2017. County councillors are elected to serve East Sussex and to specifically represent one of these electoral divisions on the council – making a total of 50 councillors. You can find out about the current political make-up of the council here.
Cllr Ruth O’Keeffe
Ruth was first elected county councillor for Lewes in 2005 and she has lived in East Sussex since 1987. She is a teacher by profession, and has also worked as an administrator at a special school, raising money for equipment and resources for the children. She is currently working as a Councillor at three levels, County, District and Town.
In 1998, Ruth was a parent governor at a local Lewes primary school. A colleague from the Town Council asked if she’d ever considered standing in the local elections, so that sparked her interest.
Ruth decided to stand as a councillor as she wanted to make a positive difference to the local community. She enjoys being able to help people resolve issues by providing them with the information they require, making sure that their views are heard, and that the Council and relevant officers are fully aware of local feeling.
Particular concerns for Ruth include traffic, parking, how residents access services, flooding and approaching local government. And if she has any spare time she enjoys reading, walking, gardening, knitting, sewing and takes an interest in environmental issues.
Cllr Godfrey Daniel
Godfrey was elected as County Councillor for Braybrooke and Castle, Hastings, in 1997. He previously worked in local government as an officer for Lambeth Borough Council where he was Head of Pupil and Student services, and then worked in East Sussex as an Education Welfare Officer. Before that, he was a teacher. He moved to Hastings in 1984 and after taking early retirement from working in local government, he decided to devote his time to improving the area where he lives.
The major concerns in his division are crime and the fear of crime, poor housing standards and the high rate of unemployment. Improving standards of education is also very important to Godfrey, along with transport and infrastructure initiatives that help to regenerate the Hastings area.
He is particularly proud to have helped with the campaign to improve the town centre library and its expansion, and very much supported the Bexhill/Hastings link road which was completed in 2015.
Outside of politics Godfrey is president of Hastings Welsh Society and has a great passion for music and supports various musical societies.
Cllr Carolyn Lambert
Carolyn is actively committed to representing the views of local people. She has previously been elected to Seaford Town Council and Lewes District Council, and was elected to East Sussex County Council in June 2009. She has used every opportunity positively to raise issues of concern to local residents.
She has completed a PhD and has published a book about Elizabeth Gaskell.
In her work as a councillor, Carolyn draws upon her previous experience of working at senior management level in local government. She believes that this enables her to communicate effectively with officers to ensure that Seaford residents receive the best possible advice and support.
Her family has lived in East Sussex for four generations. Her great-grandparents started a village shop in Barcombe and her grandfather was chair of Barcombe Parish Council, so perhaps being a councillor is in her genes!
Carolyn was inspired to stand as a councillor as a result of the change in government policy which enables assets (buildings or land) to be transferred to the community for their use and benefit. She believes the best thing about politics is being able to help people with their concerns or simply to get their voices heard if they are concerned about local issues. In her spare time, Carolyn is a professionally trained singer and knits socks! She has recently completed her PhD and published a book about Elizabeth Gaskell.
Cllr David Elkin
David was first elected on 5th May 2005. He represents the Eastbourne Sovereign Division.
He is Chairman of the Council and oversees legal and democratic services.
He previously worked as a mechanical engineer, before joining a national dairy firm as a milkman – ending up as an area manager. He then ran a pub for seven years.
David moved to Eastbourne in 1991 to run a hotel on the seafront. He became involved with the hotels association which brought him into contact with Eastbourne Borough Council. This started his interest in local politics and he decided to stand as a borough councillor. He wanted to be a county councillor to make a difference and help issues in his local area.
In his spare time he enjoys travelling, golf and walking.
To become a councillor you have to stand at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes from the local electorate
You do not have to belong to or represent a political party to stand in the elections. You can stand as an Independent Candidate or choose not to have a description to your name. If you wish to represent a political party it must be one of the parties registered with the Electoral Commission.
If you choose to stand for a party you will need to go through their selection process before you can be put forward as their candidate.
If you’d like to find out more about being a councillor for a political party please visit:
Bexhill and Battle Conservatives
6A Amherst Road,
01424 219 117
69 Carlisle Road,
01323 734 940
Hastings and Rye Conservatives
St Leonards on Sea,
01424 423 949
01273 937 661
If you are interested in other political parties, please view the Register of Political Parties.
In order to stand at the elections you must first obtain a candidate information pack from the elections officer at your local district council, who will explain the nomination process. Relevant forms including a set of nomination papers will be in the pack for you to complete. These packs are available nearer the election date.
Please find below some key dates for county councillors during their first few months of office. This includes training events and committee meetings. The minimum attendance of councillors is likely to be at the Full Council and any meetings of committees, working groups or outside bodies that you may be appointed to.
Council meetings are usually held during normal office hours (9am – 5pm), but can also occur in the evening. By law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off to perform your duties as a councillor. However, it is advisable to discuss your intention to stand for election with your employer before submitting your nomination form.
The following link takes you to the Council’s calendar of meetings, which will give you an idea of the number and frequency of meetings:
You can also watch our meetings live via the Council’s webcasting facility:
A summary publication that outlines the role of a councillor and how the council works, gives perspectives from existing councillors and provides contact details for further information.
An interactive workbook, providing a more detailed, practical understanding of the role of a county councillor.
The Electoral Commission Candidate and Agent guidance – a link to all of the current guidance for Candidates and Candidate Agents
Are there any legal requirements to becoming a councillor?
Yes. The legal requirements to stand as a councillor are as follows:
To qualify as a candidate you must be:
You must meet at least one of the following criteria:
You cannot stand for election if you:
I’m still not sure about whether I am eligible to be a councillor. How can I find out?
Test your eligibility or read the Electoral Commission’s guidance.
I would like to be a candidate for a political party. Who should I contact?
For contact information about each of the political groups, please see the tab above this one named ‘How do I become a councillor in East Sussex’.
How can I stand for council without joining a political party?
You can stand for council without belonging to a political party. You might find it helpful to read the Electoral Commission’s guidance for independent candidates
Do I need to appoint an election agent?
It is advisable to appoint an election agent to act on your behalf. Your agent would, amongst other things, ensure that your forms are sent in correctly, keep a detailed record of financial expenditure for submission after the election and generally organise your campaign ensuring that it is lawful.
How do I find out which electoral division I live in?
You can find out which division you currently live in by clicking on the link below and using the post code search facility. For the new Divisions, please use the maps on the Local Government Boundary Commission for England website:
Will I get paid to be a county councillor?
Councillors are not paid a salary but they are entitled to receive a ‘basic allowance’ which is intended to recognise the time devoted to their work on behalf of the people of East Sussex and in connection with council business.
Each council sets its own rate for members’ allowances, and you can find out more information from https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/about/people/councillors/interests
How much time will it take?
How much time you spend on your duties as a councillor is largely up to you and will depend on the particular commitments you take on. The precise amount of time will depend on the roles and commitments each councillor takes on and can vary. On average councillors can spend up to twenty five hours per week in leading roles, such as Cabinet Member or Scrutiny Chairs.
You will be expected to attend some council committee meetings, which are often held during the day. As with most things in life, what you get back will depend on how much you put in. But remember, the amount of time you give to it is almost entirely up to you.
Before you consider becoming a councillor you may want to discuss it with your family and friends to make sure they understand what you are taking on. You will need their support as you’ll have to spend some of your spare time on council business.
Will I get time off work?
Yes. By law if you are working, your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your duties as a councillor. The amount of time given will depend on your responsibilities and the effect of your absence on your employer’s business.
You should discuss this with your employer before making the commitment to stand for election.
What support will I receive?
East Sussex County Council is committed to providing councillors with advice and support for all aspects of their role. After an election, all new councillors are required to attend an induction programme to enable them to meet the key people who will support them in their role and attend learning and development events to familiarise them with the work of the council, the expectations of councillors and ways in which they can carry out key tasks.
Councillors are also provided with ongoing learning and development support to broaden their knowledge, skills and confidence. In the first few weeks experienced county councillors will be available to guide you in getting to know the workings of the county council and your role within it.
You will also be offered ICT equipment which will allow you to access your email, intranet and other services whilst at home or on the go. The County Council has a paperless policy for its meetings supported by appropriate technology.
What support is available for councillors with special needs?
The County Hall complex is a DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) friendly campus. The council chamber and committee rooms are fitted with an audio loop system. Specialist office and ICT software may also be purchased for councillors with visual or hearing impairment. Councillors with special needs are encouraged to contact Member Services following their election to discuss their personal needs.
How can I find out about training and development?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Click on the link below to access maps showing the new electoral divisions for each of the districts in East Sussex. Instructions on how to navigate the maps are also included. Click on the ‘Final Recommendations’ link.
Please note: some files are of a considerable size and may therefore take a while to download to your device. All files are in PDF format. The approximate size of each file is indicated in italics.
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Adviser – Leadership and Localism
Tel: 07464 652 938
Member Services Manager
Tel: 01273 335517
Democratic Services Manager
Tel: 01273 481955
The Electoral Commission (main office)
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ
Tel: 0333 1031928
Eastbourne Borough Council
Tel: 01323 410000
Hastings Borough Council
Lewes District Council
Rother District Council
Tel: 01424 787825
Wealden District Council
Tel: 01892 602416