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How to become a Councillor

The next local government Elections will be in May 2017, this page provides you with information on how to stand for election and what is expected of you should you be elected as a Councillor for Carmarthenshire County Council.

A candidate for election to the Council needs to be nominated by 10 registered electors in that particular ward and have it declared that he/she agrees to the nomination. You then need to win a majority of the votes cast. The number of votes you need to win depends on the electoral division in which you choose to stand for election. Some electoral divisions are two member divisions.

Nomination packs will be available early in 2017. If you would like to register your interest please contact Electoral Services on 01267 228609.

If you are thinking of standing as a candidate for a particular political party, then you should first get in touch with that party’s local organisation. If you plan to stand for election as an independent Councillor, contact Electoral Services and they will be pleased to give you more information.

The Council comprises 74 elected Councillors representing 58 Electoral Wards. The Council normally meets on a monthly basis and has a list of functions including, adopting and changing the Constitution, approving and adopting the Budget and Policy Framework, appoints the Leader, determines and agrees Committees and their terms of reference. For a full list of Council functions, read Article 4 of the Council's Constitution

Up to Ten of the Council’s members make up the Executive Board, including the Leader of the Council. The Executive Board is responsible for carrying out all the local authority functions which are not the responsibility of the Council. Executive Board Members are responsible for decision making within specific areas of interest, known as portfolios. 

Scrutiny Committees act as a 'critical friend' to the Executive Board and other decision makers in order to promote better services, policies and decisions. Working in a similar way to parliamentary select committees, scrutiny involves councillors who are not in the cabinet. 

The Planning, Audit and Licensing Committees make the Council’s regulatory decisions; the Democratic Services Committee reviews the adequacy of provision by the Authority to discharge the democratic services function and the there is also a Standards Committee to promote high standards of conduct and support Councillors to comply with the Code of Conduct.

Councillors are entitled to a basic salary (currently £13,300 per annum). Senior Salaries and other allowances/expenses are paid dependant on the roles and responsibilities you may have following election, further information on payments can be obtained from the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.

Once elected Councillors are expected to attend various training and development sessions during their term of office. An induction session is provided for all new and returning Councillors during the first 12 months in office with further training provided on an ongoing basis through member development events.

Councillors are expected to attend meetings and committees and are bound to observe the provisions of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.  

As local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. These responsibilities and duties often depend on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available, and may include: attending governing body meetings of schools within their ward, attending meetings of local organisations such as tenants' associations, bodies affecting the wider community, raising issues on behalf of members of the public, holding surgeries for residents to raise issues and meeting with individual residents in their own homes.

It is estimated that on average, councillors spend the equivalent of three to four days a week on council business. Obviously there are some councillors who spend more time than this - and some less.

The Welsh Local Government Association has produced a Local Elections in Wales Candidates Guide in association with local authorities which is an useful guide for prospective candidates.

The Democratic Services Unit administers meetings of the Council and  provides a dedicated  Support service, providing advice on the law and practice of meetings to Councillors, officers and the public and assistance to all Councillors with queries and admin related requests.

Councillors, once elected, will be provided with a tablet device, laptop and printer and are encouraged to conduct business electronically. IT is becoming an essential tool in the role of a Councillor, and it’s recommended that candidates are able to use IT confidently or are willing to undertake training.

The Council is a bilingual Authority and, as a Councillor, you will be able to operate in your chosen language, be that Welsh or English, and interpretation facilities are available at all Council meetings to facilitate this. Welsh language training is also available for any Councillors wishing to learn the language.

 

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