Could You Be A Councillor in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council?

Be A Councillor, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council

Are you passionate about what happens in your local area? Would you like to be the person to really make a difference and help shape the future of your community for the better? Perhaps you are already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step? Being a councillor can be a worthwhile and rewarding way to achieve these goals.

Becoming a councillor means that you can be a driving force for your local community, standing for what you believe in and making a commitment to local people – helping to represent the views of those that live and work in your neighbourhood and ensuring that you can help shape a positive future for them.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it, so we need councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged.

Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing the people of the Borough, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.

No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to the quality of life of people in your local area and to influence the way issues are dealt with locally across Nuneaton and Bedworth.

If you think being a Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Councillor is for you, read on to test your eligibility to stand and find out more.

About Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council exists to serve everyone who lives or works in the local area, helping people to be healthy, happy and enjoy a good quality of life. They also help more vulnerable members of our communities who need some extra support.

Some council services are very visible to everyone in the borough, but there are many others you may only be aware of if you come into direct contact with them.

The council:

  • Delivers significant, on-going town centre improvements as part of the ambitious Transforming Nuneaton partnership programme and a vibrant and engaging programme of town centre entertainment.
  • Provides four sports and leisure centres, 22 football pitches and five cricket grounds, one bowling green, ten tennis courts and 25 outdoor multi-use games areas (MUGAs).
  • Maintains 57 play areas, including five outdoor gyms, three BMX tracks and four skate park facilities. 550 hectares of parks and nature reserves are also managed and maintained.
  • Manages a range of programmes to improve economic development in the Borough and provides gateway support for access to specialist agencies, including the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub.
  • Provides business engagement, management support and facilitation of networking between businesses, including an annual Business Expo.
  • Provides an extensive range of high quality exhibitions and educational programmes at Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery attracting 65,000 visitors.
  • Delivers a fantastic programme of entertainment at the Civic Hall in Bedworth, attracting over 112,000 customers annually.
  • Provides over 5,700 council properties, including around 1,176 independent living homes and 34 units of temporary accommodation for homeless households.
  • Makes decisions on around 680 planning applications and some 1,200 building control applications each year.
  • Empties 4 million bins each year, cleans 1,400 streets each month and recycles 44% of household waste.
  • Provides financial support of some £1.9m for Council budgets from investments and commercial activity.
  • Provides support and advice on Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support to over 10,000 customers each year.
  • Provision of guidance, support and inspection services for business premises in the Borough, relating to food safety, health and safety, environmental protection and licensing.

Key Dates

Council meetings are usually held in the evening but can occasionally occur during the day. Follow this link to see a full calendar of council meetings here >

For key dates in the run up to the council’s next elections in 2020, including nomination deadlines and registration deadlines, full details will be listed here >

What does it involve?

Councillors are elected to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council to represent the local community, (see list below). Becoming a councillor is both a rewarding and privileged form of public service. You will be in a position to make a difference to the quality of other people’s daily lives and prospects.

Being an effective councillor requires both commitment and hard work. You will have to balance the needs and interests of residents, the political party you represent (if you have been elected as a member of a party) and the council. These will all make legitimate demands on a councillor’s time, on top of the demands and needs of your personal and professional life.

What are the roles and responsibilities?

The councillor’s role and responsibilities include:

  • serving the community
  • representing local people
  • talking to the community about what the council is doing
  • developing strategies and plans
  • decision making or reviewing decisions.

Many councillors hold regular drop-in surgeries each month and / or attend community meetings. These are a chance for residents to meet you and discuss their problems or concerns. You may also need to spend time visiting constituents in their homes. On top of this you will be dealing with letters, emails and phone calls from constituents.

The council has 34 councillors in total, with each of our 17 wards being represented by two councillors. Borough elections take place ‘by halves’ – this means that half of our council seats are elected every two years.

At Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council we operate the Leader and Cabinet executive model, with Cabinet appointments being confirmed at the Annual Council meeting, which usually takes place in May. Our existing Cabinet consists of five members, each responsible for a specific policy area, known as a portfolio.

Councillors also appoint a civic Mayor and a Deputy Mayor at the Annual Council meeting – this role is not to be confused with the role of elected mayors, such as the Mayor of London, who is responsible for the day-to-day running of services. Our own civic Mayor carries out ceremonial duties as ‘First Citizen’ of the Borough and also chairs meetings of the Council.

Councillors are often required to attend formal committee meetings that are usually held in the evenings. Some councillors are also appointed to represent the council on outside organisations such as charities and public bodies. If you are a member of a political party you will also be expected to attend political group meetings, party training and other events.

Councillors are often invited to lots of other meetings and events in their communities, such as parish council meetings or meetings about community safety and policing.

For more information about the roles and responsibilities and how you would go about carrying out the duties of councillor, please refer to the ‘Be a Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council Councillor guidebook’.

If you have trouble accessing the quiz, please email elearning@local.gov.uk

TAKE THE QUIZ

TAKE THE QUIZ

If you have trouble accessing the quiz, please email elearning@local.gov.uk

TAKE THE QUIZ

TAKE THE QUIZ

FAQs

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:

  • Over 18 years of age on the day of nomination
  • A United Kingdom, Commonwealth or EU citizen

 

You must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be registered as a voter in the council area
  • Have lived in the council area for the past 12 months (though not specifically in the ward you wish to stand)
  • Have occupied as owner or tenant of premises or land in the council area for the past 12 months
  • Had your main place of work in the council area for the past 12 months.

 

You cannot stand for election if you:

  • are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order
  • have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more, during the past five years
  • work for the borough council or hold a politically restricted job at another council
  • have been disqualified under legislation relating to corrupt or illegal practices.

I’m still not sure about whether I am eligible to be a councillor at the 2020 election. How can I find out?

Test your eligibility or read the Electoral Commission’s guidance.  You should seek your own independent legal advice if you’re still not sure.

Do I need any special skills or experience to be a councillor?

Groups made up of people from different backgrounds and with different skills tend to make better decisions. It is important that councils have councillors who not only reflect and represent the communities they serve, but also have a broad range of skills and life experience. You don’t have to have any particular formal qualification or profession. Skills gained through raising a family, caring for a sick or disabled relative, volunteering or being active in faith or community groups can be just as valuable. While you don’t need any special qualifications to be a councillor, having or being able to develop the following skills, knowledge and attributes will help you in the role:

  • the ability to engage with the local community – being available through meetings, the media, the internet, public forums, debates and on the telephone in order to provide information and advice to people
  • communication and influencing skills – these include listening and interpersonal skills, facilitation, public speaking, advocacy, the ability to consider alternative points of view and to negotiate, mediate and resolve conflict
  • problem solving, questioning and analytical skills – the ability to get to the bottom of an issue and to think of different ways to resolve it, including the advantages and disadvantages of each option
  • team working – being able to work with fellow councillors and officers in meetings and on committees and being able to complete any tasks on time
  • organisational skills – being able to plan and manage your time, keep appointments and meet deadlines
  • ICT literacy − councils rely increasingly on information and communications technology both internally and externally. Councillors are expected to play a full role in this, eg using email and social media.

You may have gained skills and knowledge through your professional, personal or community experience. These could include:

  • awareness of local community groups and events, priorities and concerns
  • knowledge of the needs of specific groups such as children and young people, older people or people with health problems
  • an understanding of financial management and reporting processes
  • legal and regulatory systems or procedures
  • housing, regeneration or environmental issues
  • any other skills that relate to the work or facilities provided by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.

Don’t worry if you don’t yet feel that you have the skills or confidence to be a councillor, the borough council provides support, information and training for new councillors.

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 Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’.

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 Download here

Do I need to appoint an election agent?

The election agent is the person responsible for the proper management of your election campaign and for its financial management.  If you don’t appoint an election agent you will become your own agent by default.  Some political parties will provide an election agent to work on your behalf.  You can find out more about the role of an election agent in part 2a and 2b of the Electoral Commission guidance for Candidates and Agents. Find out more >

How do I find out which electoral ward I live in?

You can find out which ward you currently live in by clicking on the link below and using the post code search facility. Find out more >

Will I get paid to be a borough 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 Nuneaton and Bedworth and in connection with council business.

Each council sets its own rate for members’ allowances. Find out more >

Can I be a councillor and have a job?

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.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council‘s meetings usually take place in the evenings although some meetings start at 5pm.

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 between 10 to 20 hours per week, but the time spent can increase for members allocated to leading roles.

You will be expected to attend some council committee meetings, which are mostly held during the evening. 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?

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough 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, including learning and development events to familiarise themselves 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.

You will be provided with a council email account. The basic allowance includes an additional element to enable you to cover the costs of a broadband and telephone connection.  There are also IT facilities for councillors to use when they are in the Town Hall.

What support is available for councillors with special needs?

The Town Hall is DDA compliant and can be accessed by anyone with special needs. A mobile audio loop system is available. Councillors with special needs are encouraged to contact Democratic Services following their election to discuss their personal needs.

How can I find out about Member training and development?

Dave Leach – Communications and Events Officer
Email: dave.leach@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk
Telephone: 07969180926

Lindsey Millington – Corporate PA
Email:
lindsey.millington@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk
Telephone: 02476 376439

Events

Community-minded residents and groups are being encouraged to find out what it takes to become a councillor.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council has joined with the national Be a Councillor campaign to run an event on Monday 4 November which will provide you with all the information and advice you will need if you are considering standing for election and to find out more about what the council and local councillors do.

5 – 8pm, Monday 4 November 2019 – Nuneaton Town Hall

Useful Resources

Be a councillor | Stand for What you believe in

A guide to being a councillor – A summary publication that outlines the role of a councillor and how the council works, and provides contact details for further information.

Useful contacts

For information regarding be a Councillor campaign and events, and the candidate nomination process.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council

Dave Leach
Communications and Events Officer

Email: dave.leach@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk
Telephone: 07969180926

Lindsey Millington
Corporate PA

Email: lindsey.millington@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk
Telephone: 02476 376439

Local Government Association (LGA)

Be a Councillor – Adviser
Email: beacouncillor@local.gov.uk
Website: www.local.gov.uk

Electoral commission contact

The Electoral Commission (main office)
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ

Tel: 0333 1031928
Email: pef@electoralcommission.org.uk
Website: www.electoralcommission.org.uk