Last Modified January 08, 2020
Do you want to influence the way local services are provided? Have you thought about getting more involved in the community? Have you considered becoming a councillor?
What do councillors do?
Councillors help make decisions about the way local services are provided, and how the council tax and government grants are spent. The matters they are involved in depends on the type of council they are elected to:
- County Council (eg Hertfordshire County Council) provides county-wide services such as schools, libraries, social services, trading standards, road safety and highway maintenance. They represent areas called divisions.
- District Council (eg Hertsmere Borough Council) provides major local services such as refuse collection and recycling, planning and development control, economic regeneration, parks and leisure services, car parking, food hygiene and environmental protection. They represent areas called wards.
- Parish/Town Councils (eg Aldenham Parish Council) provide some local services such as maintenance of village greens, allotments and play areas. They can lobby for improvements to services provided by other organisations. They have a right to be notified about planning applications in their area and are usually consulted by the district and county councils on matters that affect their area, such as road and housing developments.
How do I stand for election as a Hertsmere borough councillor?
To become a Hertsmere borough councillor you must stand for election in one of our 16 electoral wards. Each ward has seats for two or three councillors. Once elected to a seat, a councillor serves for four years.
To qualify as a candidate you must:
- Be 18 years of age or over on the day of your nomination AND
- Be a British, an eligible Commonwealth or European Union citizen AND
- Be registered to vote in the Hertsmere Borough Council area or have lived or owned property in the Hertsmere Borough Council area for the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination, or, your main or only place of work during those 12 months has been in the area.
You would not qualify as a candidate if:
- you work for Hertsmere Borough Council, or work for another council in a politically-restricted post.
- you are bankrupt.
- you have served a prison sentence (including suspended sentences) of three months or more in the five years before the election.
- you are disqualified for being a member of the council under Part III of the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Forthcoming Hertsmere Borough Council elections
Hertsmere councillors are elected every four years. The next Hertsmere elections will take place in May 2023 when there will be all 39 seats up for election. However by-elections can occur at any time, for example if a councillor resigns from a seat.
How do I become a candidate?
Our elections office manages all local and national elections in the borough and Notices of Election are placed at our civic offices and in each parish telling you where and when to apply to be a candidate. For elections held in the month of May the Notice is usually put up towards the end of March.
To become a candidate you must:
- Ask the elections office for a nomination pack containing all the forms and information you need for the election.
- Find 10 electors in your ward or division to sign your nomination for Hertsmere Borough Council. The people signing the nomination paper must be on Hertsmere's Electoral Register. If someone signs your nomination paper and they are not on the Electoral Register, the paper will not be valid.
- You must return the signed and completed paperwork by the deadline for nominations (close of nomination).
Do I have to join a political party?
You don't need to be a member of a political party to be a councillor. Anyone can stand as an independent candidate.
If you wish to represent a specific party however, you must have a certificate from the party's nominating officer confirming that you are their candidate.
Do I have to pay a fee?
There is no charge to stand as a candidate for election, but you may incur costs from your election campaign. The amount depends on the type of campaign you run but there is a legal limit on how much you can spend.
For individual candidates, whether standing for a registered political party or as an independent, the limits on election expenses are £740 per ward plus 6p per elector.
You must complete an expenses form to say how much you have spent and you must keep all your receipts for expenditure over £20 to go with this form.
Will I get paid for being a councillor?
Councillors do not receive a salary. However, when you get elected you will be paid a member's allowance to reimburse you for time and expenses incurred while on council business.
Can I be a councillor and have a job?
Yes. By law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your councillor duties. The amount of time off will depend on your responsibilities and the effect of your absence on your employer's business. You should discuss this with your employer before you make a commitment to stand for election.
Where can I get more information?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit beacouncillor.org.uk