Become a Councillor

Page updated on: 05/05/2022

Standing as a Candidate

A candidate for election must complete a set of nomination papers that must be signed by the candidate in the presence of a witness who must attest the signature. Nominations papers will be available shortly from the Electoral Commission website: www.electoralcommission.org.uk

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 or three member divisions.

Nomination packs will be available early in 2022. 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 us and we will be pleased to give you more information.

Councillors receive a salary which is determined annually by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, and can also claim travel and subsistence costs (subsistence is paid for ‘out of county’ meals and accommodation only) when undertaking official duties. Councillors can also claim towards the costs of care and personal assistance in order for them to carry out their approved duties.

The Welsh Government has approved funding for a pilot scheme to fund reasonable adjustments and support for disabled candidates seeking election to the 2022 Local Government elections. Further information can be found here

Further information on allowances can be viewed by clicking on the following Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales web page:

Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales

The Council comprises 74 elected Councillors representing 58 Electoral Wards (from May 2022 the Council will comprise 75 elected Councillors and 51 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. A full list of Council functions can be found in Part 2 of the Council's Constitution in Article 4: The Full Council.

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

Scrutiny Committees act as a 'critical friend' to the Cabinet 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, Governance & 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. (The basic salary in 2022/23 for elected members of principal councils shall be £16,800). Senior Salaries and other allowances/expenses are paid dependent on the roles and responsibilities you may have following election, further information on payments can be obtained from the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales​ (IRPW). 

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.

If you are elected, you should be prepared to set aside the first two weeks after the election for the member Induction Session in May/June 2022.

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 Be a Councillor Be the Change in association with local authorities which is a 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 an @carmarthenshire.gov.uk email address which must be used when conducting Council business.  All Council meetings are paperless and it is recommended that all 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.

In July 2021 The Council committed to being a diverse Council and has agreed the following action plan to promote Diversity in Carmarthenshire.

Objective 1: Increase understanding of different tiers of government in Wales, the role each plays in society and how they operate.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Distribution and promotion of Welsh Government Guidance/educational resources to accompany the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds in Wales.

  • By when: Resources have been developed by Welsh Government and have been distributed to schools
  • Lead by: Elections Manager/Comms Team

Overview of the Council website's Councillors, AM's and MP's page which includes the ‘Becoming a Councillor’ page to be reviewed and promoted.

  • By when: November 2021
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services/Elections Manager

Undertake a communications campaign with general and targeted messaging. We will specifically focus on Women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, Disabled, LGBTQ+ & Young People.

  • By when: Early 2022
  • Lead by: Marketing and Media Manager/Engagement Officer

Work with key stakeholders and representative organisations to ensure qualifying citizens are aware of their right to vote in certain elections and their right to stand as a Candidate in certain elections.

  • By when: Early 2022
  • Lead by: Electoral Services Manager

Objective 2: Increase engagement with the public to raise awareness of the role and activities of the Council, and how the public can better inform local decision making.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Promote Council Constitution Guide as per the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. The full Council Constitution is available here.

  • By when: March 2022
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Develop Public Participation Strategy Scheme for compliance with duty under the 2021 Act, which will link in with the Consultation and Engagement Strategy (Welsh Government Guidance awaited).

  • By when: February/March 2022
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Introduce a petition scheme and e petition facility on the Authority’s website.

  • By when: May 2022
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services

Continue to:

  1. Webcast meetings as specified under the 2021 Act.
  2. Provide facilities for members of the public to make representations/ask questions at Council/Committees in person or via remote attendance.
  • By when: In place
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services

Encourage each Political Group to create a Diversity Champion to ensure that Councillors from under-represented groups are represented whenever possible in high profile, high influence roles.

  • By when: March 2022
  • Lead by: Political Group Leader/Head of Democratic Services

Objective 3: Increase awareness of the role of Councillors, the contribution they make to society and how to become a Councillor.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Overview of the Council website page that includes the ‘Becoming a Councillor’ section to be reviewed and promoted and to include references to:-

  1. What being a Councillor entails.
  2. Salary & Allowances.
  3. Promoting / facilitating processes.
  4. The Training available to Councillors.

Link to any training/informative materials available with the Welsh Local Government Association, Welsh Government etc.

  • By when: In place and ongoing
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services/Marketing and Media Manager

Engage with  Town and Community Councils to promote the ‘How to become a Councillor’ page or create their own.

  • By when: January to March 2022
  • Lead by: Town & Community Council Forum/HoDS/Marketing & Media

Seek the participation of Political Group Leaders to champion the diversity expectations within the selection processes of their Political Parties. To encourage Political Group Leaders to promote the advice available to future candidates or individuals considering standing for office at the earliest opportunity.

  • By when: January to March 2022
  • Lead by: Chief Executive/Head of Democratic Services

Objective 4: Greater respect & support for those standing for and securing elected office in Wales.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Promote duty on Political Group Leaders to promote high standards of conduct.

  • By when: January to March 2022
  • Lead by: Political Group Leaders/Monitoring Officer

All Councillors & Co-opted Members required to have mandatory Code of Conduct Training. Refresher at least once during a term of office and also if the Code is amended. Standards Committee to monitor compliance in relation to standards of conduct and provide training.

  • By when: Summer 2022
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Promote the Welsh Government’s fund for Access to Elected Office to assist disabled people to stand for elected office at the 2022 Local Elections.

  • By when: Ongoing - Comms message has already been circulated
  • Lead by: Political Group Leaders/Head of Democratic Services

Objective 5: Comprehensive training and awareness programme available through a variety of routes available for Councillors to support them in their role as Councillors.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Review the Member Induction Programme and the ongoing Member Development Programme. Encourage Member to attend all training sessions, E-Learning and make use of the All Wales Training Materials for Councillors - led by the Welsh Local Government Association.

  • By when: In Place and Ongoing
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services/Democratic Services Committee/Learning and Development Advisor

Encourage returning Councillors to provide mentoring / shadowing for first time Councillors and those that request it and to undertake Personal Development Reviews for their members with assistance from Learning and Development, as required.

  • By when: Ongoing
  • Lead by: Political Group Leaders/ Head of Democratic Services/Learning and Development Advisor

Objective 6: Improve the safety of Councillors and their families when undertaking their Council duties.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Comply with the Local Government & Elections (Wales) Act 2021 by ensuring that official addresses are published on Council website and in the Register of Interest.

  • By when: May 2022
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Include Personal Safety and Lone Working training in the New Member induction programme to ensure members’ safety. Promote the Lone Working Policy and guidance.

  • By when: May 2022
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services/Learning and Development Advisor

All Councillors to have identity cards to allow secure access to Council buildings.

  • By when: In place
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services

Social Media Safety training to be delivered to members through the Councillor Induction & Training Programme and built upon during their term of office.

  • By when: May to September 2022
  • Lead by: Marketing and Media Manager

Promote the WLGA’s advice and support service to individual Councillors who receive online abuse.

  • By when: In place and ongoing
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services

Objective 7: Maximise opportunities for individuals to work in ways that enable them to achieve a work/life balance which protects their welfare and wellbeing and allows them to manage any caring/dependency relationships.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Introduction of a Multi-Location Meetings Policy encouraging remote and physical attendance at meetings.

  • By when: Early 2022
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Comply with the requirements of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 in relation to the promote job-sharing by Executive Leaders and other Office holders.

  • By when: Constitution amended May 2021 and ongoing as elements of the Act come into force
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Promote:

  1. Family Absence provisions for Councillors.
  2. Allowances and Contribution Towards Costs of Care and Personal Assistance available to Councillors and Co-opted Members as appropriate.
  3. Take up of allowances and expenses.
  • By when: January to July 2022
  • Lead by: Monitoring Officer/Head of Democratic Services

Review Council, Cabinet & Committee meeting times to ensure flexibility to suit Committee Members.

  • By when: To be undertaken following LG Election in May 2022 and undertaken at least once per term of office
  • Lead by: Head of Democratic Services

Objective 8: Assess the effectiveness of the provisions in 2011 Measure in relation to data collection, and in relation to other candidate data that could be collected in order for Political Parties to support diverse candidates at elections.

What we have done/aim to do:-

Undertake a diversity and inclusion survey with Members which will provide a benchmark for future elections and allow feedback to Political Group Leaders.

  • By when: Summer 2022
  • Lead by: Policy Team/Head of Democratic Services

Council & Democracy