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?
Perhaps you are already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step. Or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your local community.
Reigate & Banstead Borough 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. Councillors should be able to stand for what they believe in, be able to make a commitment to local people and show a passion for change.
Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing the borough’s 140,000 residents, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.
On Thursday 2 May 2019, all 45 Reigate & Banstead Borough Council seats are up for election. This is an opportunity for you to stand as a representative of your local community and become a borough councillor.
We need plenty of talented, high-quality candidates to stand in the election who are willing to work hard and make a difference to their local communities.
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 influence the way issues are dealt with locally and across Reigate & Banstead.
If you think being a Reigate & Banstead Councillor is for you, read on to test your eligibility to stand and find out more.
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council exists to serve everyone who lives or works in the borough, 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 borough council services are very visible to everyone in the borough, but there are many others you may only know about if you come into direct contact with them.
The borough council:
In different ways, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council touches the lives of everyone in the borough.
Toby Brampton, Labour Party – previous candidate
“I stood to become a councillor to ensure we had a vibrant local democracy where people truly felt their vote mattered and they had a range of candidates and parties to choose from. I wanted to ensure that a broad range of views were represented in our local democracy and especially that the values of my party were strongly represented, that voters of my party had a candidate to vote for on the day and that those of the other parties felt truly like they were partaking in an active democracy and their vote meant something.
“More than believing in any one politician or party I strongly believe in our democracy itself, while I wanted to represent residents as a councillor following my beliefs and putting the aims and values of my party into action for the benefit of the community I felt that even just by standing as a candidate and campaigning hard along with my party colleagues we could help improve our local democracy and that this itself would have benefits for our local community.”
Cllr Jill Bray, Residents Associations
“I became a councillor because I wanted to protect and improve my local area; no one seemed to be focussed on what was happening locally.
“Being a councillor can be very rewarding – helping people and seeing changes made for the better – but you do need to be persistent to see the job through.”
Cllr Jonathan Essex, Green Party
“I got involved in politics because I wanted to help build better local communities here where I live, whilst still linking to global issues including poverty and climate change. I was working in Bangladesh, where I saw communities living on the frontline of climate change. I realised that their problems were exacerbated by policies of governments in the north, so it was only by moving back that I could help. I’ve served as a councillor in Redhill for eight years on the local council and five years on the county council.
“It has been a great privilege, meeting all sorts of interesting people and being able to help with their projects and try to turn community ideas into reality. I’ve worked on a range of issues: from where houses are planned, recycling to potholes, from improving our cycling and community facilities. It’s also been frustrating at times – as a member of a small opposition party you need patience and diplomacy for different voices to be heard. That’s why I hope more will stand with the Greens to create a stronger voice for residents across all our communities on the Council.”
Cllr Rich Michalowski, Conservative Party
“I stood to become a councillor because I’m interested in the place I live in and the people who live here. It’s that simple!
“There are lots of reasons why people stand as a councillor. I stood because I found myself sitting on the sofa and reading about local issues on my phone. I could have continued to watch from the side-lines or I could get involved. I decided to find out more and get involved!
“Councillors come from a variety of backgrounds. To my mind, they all believe that they can contribute positively to the community by representing residents, working through the issues and making the place we live in better. I’m no different and I would encourage you to do just that. Come and join in.”
Cllr Anna Tarrant, Liberal Democrats
“When I first stood as a candidate in a Borough Election, my 4 children were aged between 1 year and 7 years old, I had a part time job, did some voluntary work and my friends thought I was mad! 11 years later I am asked what motivated me to stand, as we try and encourage others to step forward. There are three parts to my answer.
“First, I was fascinated by what the role would involve and excited about experiencing something new and different. It was also great fun to be part of an election campaign. My next reason was my absolute belief in democracy and my desire to show my children how it works, and that as individuals we can make a difference. I love the political debates we all have at home, as I ask their opinions on some of the issues which come up. Finally, because I have only ever lived in Reigate, I wanted to do something positive for an area I love.”
Our Be a Councillor information events will be held in August and September 2018. Take a look at the ‘events’ page below for more information.
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.
You can also view council meetings live through Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s webcast stream. Find out more >
Key dates in the run up to the May 2019 elections, including nomination deadlines and registration deadlines, will be listed here in early 2019. Find out more >
Councillors are elected to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to represent the local community, so you must either live or work in the Reigate & Banstead council area. 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.
The councillor’s role and responsibilities include:
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 a Leader and Council system of governance and operates a number of committees. 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 Reigate & Banstead Borough Councillor learning and development workbook’.
If you have trouble accessing the quiz, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
TAKE THE QUIZ
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 at the 2019 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.
I would like to be a candidate for a political party. Who should I contact?
For more information about becoming a candidate for a political group you can contact the Group Leader:
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 PDF
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.
However, as the council is undergoing an electoral review, ward boundaries and names are set to change before the May 2019 elections (see section on Reigate & Banstead Ward Boundaries for more info).
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 Reigate & Banstead and in connection with council business.
Each council sets its own rate for members’ allowances, and you can find out more information from our Members’ page
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, such as Executive Member or Scrutiny Chairs.
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?
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is committed to providing councillors with advice and support for all aspects of their role. After an election, all new councillors have the opportunity to attend an induction programme to enable them to meet the key people who will support them in their role and attend 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 borough councillors will be available to guide you in getting to know the workings of the borough council and your role within it. You will also be offered a “buddy” – an officer contact within Democratic Services to signpost you round the council for the first couple of months.
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 training and development?
Please email email@example.com for further information.
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council currently has 51 Councillors representing 19 wards. Find out more >
However, the Local Government Boundary commission for England (LGBCE) is undertaking a ward boundary review, with the new boundaries set to be agreed by Parliament by the beginning of 2019. The 19 wards are due to become 15 and the number of councillors will reduce by six to 45 in the upcoming elections in May 2019.
A consultation on the LGBCE’s draft recommendations on new ward boundaries and names runs until 13th August 2018. You can view to proposed boundaries and more information on the review on the LGBCE’s website here.
If you’d like to find out more about becoming a councillor for the borough of Reigate & Banstead, come along to one of Reigate & Banstead Borough Councils information sessions.
You’ll hear about the work of the council, be able to speak to current councillors and ask any questions you may have.
The events will be held at the Town Hall.
Tuesday 21st August 2018
Wednesday 5th September 2018
To register your interest in our events please click below to register
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