Could You Be A Councillor in South Staffordshire?

Be A Councillor, South Staffordshire Council

“We are proud that 93% of our residents would recommend South Staffordshire as a good place to live. Our 27 parishes are made up of some small hamlets and large village with no major towns.

With 80% greenbelt land, our residents take pride in our beautiful countryside as well as our rich legacy of conservation areas, amongst many historic buildings and landscapes. The area also has a strong manufacturing history that has been recently heightened by our partners; i54 South Staffordshire and Jaguar Land Rover”

What matters to you in your local area? Is it ensuring local businesses can thrive, making the roads and communities safer or representing your local community at Council meetings. Whatever needs changing in your local area, you could be the person to change it by becoming a councillor.

Perhaps you are already involved in your local community and want to take the next step. Or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your local area.

To support and deliver on our Council Plan priorities we need councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people and a passion for change. South Staffordshire Council can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it.

Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing a population of approx. 111,200 across the district understanding the issues and concerns they face, and then taking action, are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.

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 South Staffordshire. On Thursday 2 May 2019, all 49 South Staffordshire District Council, and all parish council seats, are up for election.

If you think being a South Staffordshire District councillor is for you, test your eligibility to stand and find out more.

Find out about South Staffordshire Council

Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless way. Representing a population of approx. 111,200 across the district, understanding the issues and concerns they face, and then taking action, are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.

On Thursday 2 May 2019, all of South Staffordshire Council seats are up for election, 49 in total. This is an opportunity for you to stand as a representative of your local community and become a Councillor in South Staffordshire.

Some wards are represented by three councillors, and others are represented by just one or two councillors.

South Staffordshire Council is responsible for a wide range of powers delegated to it from central government.

Staffordshire has three types of local Council – Staffordshire County Council, 8 Districts and Parish Councils.

South Staffordshire is one of the 8 Districts and provides services to our residents for £2.12 a week with the fourth lowest Council tax in England.

  • County Council – services including Adult social care, highways, children services, transport, trading standards, education, libraries, household recycling services
  • District – services including community safety, building control, council tax and business rates collection, elections, environmental health, fly tipping, grounds maintenance, planning, food hygiene and safety, housing and homelessness prevention, leisure, licensing, waste and recycling collections
  • Parish – smaller local services such as community centres, allotments, war memorials, bus shelters and play areas.

Hear from South Staffordshire councillors

Cllr. Roger Lees, Conservative

Being a Councillor is a great way to help your local community. I enjoy meeting residents and helping resolve their problems. You get all sorts of problems thrown at you and people very much appreciate it when you can help them.

Cllr. Len Bates, Conservative

As a Councillor you need to be prepared to work unsocial hours and give up a great deal of your time as constituents can ring for help any time of the day and particularly at weekends. People are important and I became a Councillor because I wanted to help communities and individuals. I don’t see it as a chore and it’s something I really do enjoy, especially being involved in the planning and overview and scrutiny committees.

Cllr Anthony Bourke, Independent

When you aren’t on the Council you have certain views about the way it operates but once you get on you have much better understanding of how the Council works, and how things can be changed – helping the community has been really beneficial being their first port of call – I enjoy representing the Council and the residents, and find it very rewarding.

How do I become a councillor in South Staffordshire?

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 would like to find out more about being a councillor for a political party please visit:

www.local.gov.uk/political-groups

If you are interested in other political parties, please view the Register of Political Parties.

www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/PEF-online-registers

What next?

In order to stand at the elections you must first get a set of nomination papers from Electoral Services at South Staffordshire Council, which will explain the nomination process.

These packs are available nearer the election date (usually March). A candidates and agents briefing will also be held to provide further information to prospective candidates about standing for election. Information about South Staffordshire’s Electoral Services is available here: www.sstaffs.gov.uk/elections

We are holding two candidate briefing sessions:

27/02/19 – Becoming a councillor and the nomination process, 17:00 – 18:30, South Staffordshire Council Offices

10/04/19 – Information on the verification and count, 17:00 – 18:30, South Staffordshire Council Offices

To register your interest, please email elections@sstaffs.gov.uk

Electoral services team contact details:

Tel: 01902 696121
Email: elections@sstaffs.gov.uk

Key Dates

Council meetings are usually held in the evening starting at 6.30pm but can occasionally occur during the day.

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:

www.services.sstaffs.gov.uk/cmis/Meetings.aspx

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

TAKE THE QUIZ

FAQs

Before the Election:

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 2019 election. 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 South Staffordshire’.

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 ward I live in?

You can find out which division you live in by clicking on the link below and entering your postcode on the local area profile search.

After the Election:

Will I get paid to be a 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 Guildford and in connection with council business.

Each council sets its own rate for councillors’ allowances, and you can find out more information from here

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 considerably. On average councillors can spend up to twenty-five hours per week, but the time spent can increase for members allocated to leading roles, such as Executive Members or a Committee Chairman.

You will be expected to attend council meetings and meetings of committees to which you have been appointed, 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. However, 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 will 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?

South Staffordshire 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 councillors will be available to guide you in getting to know the workings of the council and your role within it. Officers will provide support in a range of ways including orientation with the Council, IT equipment and how the Council works.

Tablet devices and mobile phones will be issued for newly elected councillors.

Mobile phones are issued to all councillors that sit on the Executive, the Chairmen and the Leaders of the Political Groups.

What support is available for councillors with disabilities?

Councillors are encouraged to contact the Corporate Director Governance following their election to discuss their personal needs so that reasonable adjustments can be made.

South Staffordshire Ward

For more information on the wards in South Staffordshire, please visit:

www.sstaffs.gov.uk/communities/locality-data.cfm

Events

Be a Councillor sessions

South Staffordshire Council
Codsall
South Staffordshire
WV8 1PX

Tuesday 8th January 2019
1pm to 4pm, 5pm to 8pm

If you are interested in local government, discover what it’s like to be a councillor and how rewarding the role can be at South Staffordshire District Council’s ‘Be a Councillor’ event on 8th January 2019.

The day will feature two ‘Be a Councillor’ sessions at the Council Offices in South Staffordshire. The first will run from 1pm to 4pm and the second from 5pm to 8pm.

At the sessions, you will find out what the council does and the role of a councillor, important skills for councillors to have, as well as relationships, networking, stakeholders and influencing.

It’s hoped people from different backgrounds, experiences and positions will consider standing for seats on the district council in the May 2019 elections.

The sessions will also feature serving district councillors and a team from the Local Government Association, who work to support councillor development across the country.

To register your interest, please email elections@sstaffs.gov.uk

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.

Be a councillor guide for disabled people

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

Useful contacts

LGA contact

Virginia Ponton
Adviser – Leadership and Localism

Tel: 07464 652 938
Email: virginia.ponton@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

South Staffordshire Council contacts

South Staffordshire Council
Codsall
South Staffordshire
WV8 1PX

Tel: 01902 696121
Email: elections@sstaffs.gov.uk

Political Group office contacts

Labour

Bader Road
Perton
Wolverhampton
WV6 7UY

Email:  southstaffordshirelabourparty@gmail.com
Website: www.southstaffordshire.laboursites.org/contact/
Facebook: www.en-gb.facebook.com/SouthstaffsLabour/

Conservatives

4 Station Road
Codsall
South Staffordshire
WV8 1BX

Tel: 01902 844985
Email: office@southstaffsconservatives.org.uk
Website: www.southstaffsconservatives.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservatives
Twitter: www.twitter.com/conservatives

Green Party

Tel: 01902 228382
Email: info@southstaffs.greenparty.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SouthStaffsGreenParty/