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8 March 2019

Standing as a local councillor

Are you passionate about your local area and keen to make a real difference? By becoming a local councillor you can become a voice and a decision maker for your local area, and for residents in the city.

On 2 May 2019 voters in Brighton & Hove will choose the local councillors they want to represent them on Brighton & Hove City Council for the next four years.

We hope that people from a broad range of backgrounds will stand for election to become local councillors to reflect the diversity of our city. 

Come along and hear more 

If this sounds like something you are interested in please come along to one of our candidate information sessions where you can find out more about the election process, what councils do and what’s involved in being a councillor: 

  • Monday 18 March, 6-8pm, Brighton Town Hall Council Chamber
  • Friday 22 March, 10am-12noon, Brighton Town Hall Council Chamber

 

Hear from the council’s Chief Executive Geoff Raw and the senior management team about the services the council provides and you’ll also have the chance to meet current councillors who can tell you what it’s really like being a councillor. 

It’s also your opportunity to ask questions like ‘Do I get paid?’, ‘What support will I get if I’ve never been a councillor before?’ ‘What is the statutory role of a councillor?’, ‘What can I actually change?’, ‘How do local government finances work?’ and ‘Do I have to join a political party to become a councillor? (The answer is no, you can stand as an independent councillor).

What does your council do?

As a unitary council Brighton & Hove City Council is responsible for all local government functions within the city including:

  • planning and licensing
  • education and lifelong learning
  • health and wellbeing
  • children’s and adult social care
  • housing and regeneration
  • community safety and cohesion
  • waste collection and recycling
  • roads and street lighting
  • arts, sports and culture
  • transport

 

We estimate that – working in partnership with other councils, charities and public sector agencies and business - we provide roughly 700 different services.

How does your council work?

All councils are led by democratically elected councillors who work together to set the council’s vision, direction and budget. Brighton & Hove is currently divided up into 21 areas called wards, each represented by two or three councillors depending on the number of people living in them.

Brighton & Hove City Council currently works within a ‘committee system’, where important decisions are made across six policy committees:

  • Children, Young People & Skills committee
  • Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee
  • Housing & New Homes committee
  • Neighbourhoods, Inclusion, Communities & Equalities committee
  • Policy, Resources & Growth committee
  • Tourism, Development & Culture committee

 

Who gets to sit on which committee is decided by the proportion of councillors elected from political parties and as independents and then by the political groups and individuals themselves. Reports come to committees for it to decide on either because it’s a statutory requirement or because a decision is needed as part of implementing a new or ongoing policy.

What will I actually do as a councillor?

A councillor’s role centres around community leadership and engagement, responsibilities include:

  • representing the ward for which they are elected
  • decision-making - developing and reviewing council policy
  • scrutinising decisions taken by the councillors
  • regulatory, quasi-judicial and statutory duties

 

Practically, councillors are likely to be involved in a wide variety of duties including:

  • Preparing for and attending meetings
  • Speaking on behalf of the community
  • Public consultation and campaigning
  • Policy formulation
  • Liaising with council staff
  • Dealing with casework
  • Meeting individual residents
  • Representing the council at other meetings
  • Attending party group meetings
  • Looking at the services the council provides
  • Monitoring the performance of the council
  • Composing speeches
  • Writing articles

 

Councillors have to balance the needs and interests of residents, the political party they represent (if any) and the council. Being an effective councillor requires both commitment and hard work.

Let us know if you need any assistance

We can’t provide transport but please let us know if you need any assistance at the sessions. Contact our democratic services team on 01273 291066.

Discover what it’s like to be a councillor by following us on social media

If you have any questions about being a councillor, then get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll be more than happy to help!

You can also learn more about becoming a councillor on the Local Government Association’s website.

 

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