Becoming a County Councillor
What do County Councillors do?
County Councillors, or Members of the County Council as they are often called, represent all the people within their County Electoral Division, and work to secure high-quality services for the residents of and visitors to Hampshire. Councillors have a responsibility to keep in touch with the people they represent about Council policies and decisions that affect them. For further information read 'being a councillor' from the Local Government Improvement and Development.
What is a County Electoral Division?
A County Electoral Division is the geographical area that a Member of the County Council represents, like a Member of Parliament represents a Constituency or a District or Borough Councillor represents wards. The County Council has 75 County Electoral Divisions but 78 County Councillors. That is because, in three County Electoral Divisions, two County Councillors are elected.
Who can be a County Councillor?
You must ensure that you are not disqualified from standing for election. Read about the Qualification and Disqualification criteria.
Would I have to belong to a political group?
Councillors don't have to belong to any political group, but most do. Some candidates stand as Independents.
How much of my time would it take?
This depends on how much time and commitment you are prepared to give to the role, so it could be from just a few hours a week to several days. If you are already in employment you would need to discuss the time commitment with your employer before making the decision.
You would need to attend meetings of the County Council and its committees and you may be invited to attend less formal meetings. The County Council’s meetings are usually held during office hours. It is also likely you would be contacted by members of the public in the evenings and weekends. The County Council may wish you to represent it on other organisations which may meet outside of normal office hours such as voluntary groups, trusts etc and your local parish or district council may invite you to its meetings.
Would I get paid?
Councillors don't get paid a salary. They receive an annual allowance, called the ‘basic’ allowance, and may claim for eligible travel expenses. Councillors who take on more challenging roles may also receive a Special Responsibility allowance. The County Council’s Members’ Allowance Scheme can be found in part 5 of the Constitution.
What support would I receive?
You should always feel able to ask the County Council’s staff for assistance and advice about the County Council’s services. Should you stand for election and be elected, the County Council will very quickly take steps to settle you in and to help you find your way around the organisation. You should soon get to know who key contacts are within the County Council, both at its headquarters at The Castle, Winchester and at its local offices. In addition, the Members' Secretariat provide a range of secretarial and administrative services which are available to all members. These include typing and provision of stationery and, for some of the Members of the County Council’s Executive, further support such as arranging meetings and diary management.
In addition, IT equipment can be provided to give Councillors access to Hantsweb (the County Council’s website) and Hantsnet (the County Council’s intranet) to support and facilitate their work.
I'm interested, what is the next step?
First you need to decide whether you want to represent a political party, or whether you want to stand as an Independent candidate. That is a matter for you. If you decide you want to represent a political party you must contact that party's local organisation first. Contact details can be found on the Electoral Commission's register of political parties.
When your chosen political party has authorised your candidacy you can obtain from your local district council’s Electoral Registration Office the candidate’s pack which will include the nomination form which you will need to complete and other useful information about being a candidate for election to the County Council. Although an election was held on 4 June 2009, more information about standing for an election can be found on the Electoral Commission website.