Becoming A Councillor
Read on to find out more about what’s involved in the role at Malvern Hills District Council.
Could you be our next councillor?
Do you think the local park could be improved? Maybe you want a greater say on planning matters? Then why not become a councillor?
In May 2019 Malvern Hills District Council elected a whole new council with all 38 seats contested. Many parish and town councils also held elections. The next local election at Malvern Hills District Council is due to take place in 2023. So if there’s something you believe should be changed in your neighbourhood then maybe you are the person to do something about it?
Below some of our existing councillors explain why they became a councillor:
|Cllr Mick Davies, Independent councillor: “I started at parish council level due to some speculative new housing proposals then stood for the district council to ensure Morton residents had an influential voice. I passionately believe party politics has no place in local government and am proud to be an independent councillor. Although I’m retired, council work still takes up a lot of time but I try and prioritise those things that will have a positive, practical outcome. I hope I’ve inspired people to do something rather than just complain.”|
|Cllr Caroline Bovey, Liberal Democrat: “I wanted to get involved in the decision-making process and felt I couldn’t complain unless I was willing to try and change things. Being a councillor does take up a big part of your life but it is extremely rewarding. The best part is helping people sort out issues they wouldn’t otherwise be able to deal with and when you can resolve something that matters to them you know you’ve made a difference to their lives.”|
|Cllr Chris Reed, Green Party: “I've always had an interest in politics and a passion for tackling inequalities. I haven't found it easy to balance councillor duties with full-time work, being a supportive dad and husband as well as my running but I've done my best. It is rewarding when you feel you've made a difference and for me, setting-up Malvern Soup and supporting development of youth services have been highlights. I think it's important councillors don't all look and sound the same.”|
What is a councillor?
A councillor is someone who is elected by local people to represent them on a local council. In Malvern you can be elected to a parish or town council, Malvern Hills District Council and Worcestershire County Council. District councillors are elected for a four year term.
What do councillors do?
Councillors are elected by the public to be their representatives. Malvern Hills District Council is responsible for a range of services from collecting people’s waste and recycling to ensuring there are enough homes for people to live in. As one of our councillors you will:
- collectively be the ultimate policy-makers for the council, making major decisions on the services the council provides, setting the budget and overseeing how services are run;
- represent the interests of people in your ward (the area you are elected to represent) collectively, as well as dealing with individual concerns when they arise;
- respond to electors enquiries and concerns in a fair and impartial manner;
- contribute to and participate in the good governance of the council;
- take part in parish/town council meetings for your electoral ward,
- encourage your constituents to participate and become involved in the decision making process;
- maintain personal high standards of conduct and ethics in compliance with the Members' Code of Conduct;
The district council’s formal meetings are mostly held during late afternoon or evening. You can find out more about our meeting cycle here.
Each kind of council (county, district, town and parish) provides a different set of services to its local area.
Find out more about what Worcestershire County Council is responsible for here.
District councils deal with issues local to their areas including:
- Council tax collection
- Refuse and recycling collections
- Licensing applications
- Electoral registration
- Local planning applications
For our full list of services visit www.malvernhills.gov.uk/information
Parish and Town councils
By attending meetings of the parish or town councils within their wards, councillors act as a means of channeling information, and develop an awareness of local non-political activities, as well as dealing with important but immediate issues including:
- bus shelters
- cemeteries and
Further information on parish and town councils can be found at the website for the http://www.worcscalc.org.uk/
How much time does it take up?
It depends on how much time, effort and commitment each individual councillor is able to give to the role. As a councillor you will have responsibilities such as attending meetings and there is a minimum attendance requirement. A survey carried out by the Local Government Association in 2013 found on average a councillor spent 25 hours a week on their duties.
Will I get paid?
You will not get a salary but all Malvern Hills District Councillors are entitled to:
- a basic allowance, which is currently £4,350 per year (2018/19); and
- travelling and subsistence expenses
Councillors with special responsibilities (such as Portfolio Holders and some chairmen of committees) will receive additional allowances. Further details of allowances payable to Malvern Hills councillors can be found here.
We also provide other kinds of support such as an initial induction programme with on-going training and access to a councillors' resource portal.
Do I get time off work?
This depends largely on your employer, but anyone considering whether or not to stand as a councillor should bear in mind that there is no statutory right to paid time off work to attend council meetings. Some employers are good at encouraging their employees to be councillors and do allow time off within reason. Anyone considering standing for election as a councillor should always discuss this issue with their employer before standing. Although Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, provides that time off may be allowed for certain, but not all, public duties, this is largely at the discretion of individual employers.
Do I have to be political?
No. You do not have to be identified with a political party, although most councillors are. The district council is currently represented by councillors from the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green parties. There are also independent councillors serving on the council some of whom have formed an Independent Group. There is advice available nationally from the Local Government Association's Independent Group for anyone considering standing as an independent.
How do I become a district councillor?
To become a councillor, you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the district’s electoral wards (there are currently 22 electoral wards, which are represented by 38 members). Malvern Hills District Council is elected in its entirety every four years. The next scheduled election is May 2023.
Who can stand for election?
If you are over 18, a British, Commonwealth or EU citizen and are registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election, you can stand to become a councillor. You are unable to stand for election as a councillor if:
- in the last five years you have been in prison or on a suspended sentence for three months or more
- you have been declared bankrupt
- you are an employee of Malvern Hills District Council
- you have been disqualified.
You will need nomination papers. When there is an election, either a full election or an unscheduled by-election occurring when a seat becomes vacant, once the formal Notice of Election has been published, nomination papers are available from the individual district council's election office for the area in which you wish to stand.
The district council’s elections staff will be able to answer your questions about the nomination process. If you have any queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01684 862200.
You need to be nominated to stand as a candidate at the election by:
- two electors of the electoral ward (as your proposer and seconder)
- eight other electors (supporting your nomination).