Wealden District Council

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Do you want to be a Councillor?

Do you want to make a difference?

What matters to you in your local area? Whatever needs changing in your community, you could be just the person to make a positive difference by becoming a Local Councillor and Community Leader. Perhaps you are already involved in local community projects or organisations and want to take the next step, or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your community.

If elected, you will be in a position to make a difference to the quality of other people's daily lives and prospects. Although being a Councillor requires hard work and commitment, it is a privilege and a rewarding form of public service. This page will help you decide whether to stand to be a District Councillor in the next election on 2 May 2019.

If you wish to stand for election you must be:

  • A British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of another European State.
  • 18 years of age or over at the date of nomination.
  • Included on the Register of Electors for the Wealden District or be someone who has either lived or worked in the area for the whole of the 12 months before nomination.

You cannot stand if:

  • You are employed by Wealden District Council.
  • You are bankrupt.
  • You have been given a prison sentence of three months or more (even if the sentence was suspended) in the last five years.
  • You have been disqualified from standing by a court or tribunal.

We need people from all walks of life, with a wide range of experiences to best represent the Wealden Community as a whole as a Community Leader.

What next?

In order to stand at the elections you must first obtain a candidate information pack from the elections office at Wealden District Council, which will explain the nomination process. Relevant forms including a set of nomination papers will be in the pack for you to complete. These packs will be available nearer the election date.

Further information can be obtained by visiting the Local Government Association - Be a Councillor website (external link)

No. You can choose to stand as a candidate of a registered political party or as an independent candidate. If you decide you would like to have the backing of a recognised political party you will have to be selected as the party's candidate for a ward before you can stand for election. You can find your local association or local constituency party office on line. Some useful contact details are set out below, however if you are interested in other political parties, please view the Register of Political Parties (external link).

If you chose to stand as an Independent Councillor, you can submit your nomination papers directly to the Councils Returning Officer. You might find it helpful to read the Electoral Commission's guidance for independent candidates (external link)

Conservatives

Wealden Conservatives

Unit 6 Villandry West Quay

Newhaven BN9 9GB

Telephone: 01273 937 661

Email: office@wealdenconservatives.com

Lewes Conservatives

Unit 6 Villandry West Quay

Newhaven BN9 9GB

Telephone: 01273 937661‬

Email:  office@lewesconservatives.com

Bexhill and Battle Conservatives

6A Amherst Road

Bexhill East Sussex TN40 1QJ

Telephone: 01424 219117

Email: office@bbca.uk.com

Eastbourne Conservatives

69 Carlisle Road Eastbourne

East Sussex BN20 7EJ

Telephone: 01323 734940 

Email: office@bbca.uk.com

Labour

Wealden Constituency Labour Party - Chris Horlock Tel: 01825 768662

Wealden Constituency Labour Party Chair - Gareth Looker Tel: 07734 104285.

Wealden Constituency Labour Party Acting Agent - Keith Wilson Tel: 07855 408990.

Website: Wealden Labour (external link)

Liberal Democrats

27 Roman Way,

Uckfield

TN22 1UY

Email: webmaster@wealdenlibdems.org.uk

Wealden Green Party

Email: secretary@wealden.greenparty.org.uk

The Council's Corporate Plan 2015-19 details the Vision for Wealden and sets out the ambitions to continue to meet and anticipate the needs and wishes of it's communities as they change and grow.

The Council will listen, learn and lead so that Wealden residents, businesses and visitors can thrive and prosper.

The ambitions will be delivered by the Council being lean, efficient and having firm budgetary control.

View the Council's Corporate Plan 2015-19 which sets out its direction and priorities for the next four years.

Cabinet 

Made up of the Leader, Deputy Leader and up to five other councillors. It can make certain decisions without requiring further approval and some decisions are delegated to individual Cabinet members. Each Cabinet member has a specific portfolio of work that they are responsible for.

Scrutiny Committee 

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee is made up of 15 Councillors. This Committee provides a check on the activities of the Cabinet, helps develop policy, carries out scrutiny reviews, challenges Cabinet decisions through the 'call-in' process, and provide scrutiny of external bodies.

Audit and Finance Committee

The Audit and Finance Committee is made up of 10 Councillors. The Committee monitors the Council's financial decisions including the Council's budget, borrowing, asset and audit functions.

Planning Committees 

There are two Planning Committees, Planning Committee North and Planning Committee South - each committee is made up of 12 councillors. These Committees exercise powers and duties relating to town and country planning and building control issues including determining applications.

Personnel Committee 

Is made up of 7 Councillors. This Committee principally deals with staff terms and conditions

Licensing Committee 

Is made up of 15 Councillors. This Committee appoints a Sub-Committee to determine licensing applications.

Standards Committee 

Is made up of 7 District Councillors 3 Parish Councillors and 2 Independent persons. This Committee oversees the upholding of good standards of conduct by District and Parish Councillors.

The knowledge and life experience you have gained

Both personally and professionally is important, as is caring about the future of your local community. Although you do not need any formal qualifications to be a councillor, having or being able to develop the following skills, knowledge and attributes will help you in your role:

Communication

Being able to listen to and, in turn, express the views of your community, being able to accept and mediate between opposing points of view, being comfortable with public speaking and keeping your residents informed about Council policies and initiatives are all valuable communication skills.

Team Working

You will be working with others both out in the community and on Full Council or its Committees. Being able to complete any tasks that you agree to do on time and understanding your goals in order to be able to achieve them will be important.

Organisation

Planning and time management, multi tasking, keeping appointments and meeting deadlines.

Problem solving

The ability to understand the crux of an issue, and identify different resolutions is important to the role of a Councillor, as well as being able to view things critically.

Engage with your local Community

You will need to be accessible through a wide range of meetings, public forums, debates, on the phone, face to face at ward surgeries, and through various forms of media such as the press and social media. You may also already have experience in dealing with local groups with a specific interest or need.

 

Leading your community

Working as its representative and being a voice for constituents who otherwise may not be heard. You will be approached by residents with a wide range of issues and problems. You will get involved with local groups and community projects who will look to you for guidance and help. You may also find yourself campaigning for an individual on a particular issue. Using the Council's policies and procedures you will be able to improve the well-being of your constituents.

Making and influencing Policy

By preparing for, and attending Council meetings you will have a direct influence on the policies which shape the quality of local services. You will be expected to promote the Council's vision whilst also scrutinising decisions the Council has made. Public interest will be at the heart of your decision and policy making.

Being a responsible Ward Member 

You may be a single representative or join other Councillors in a multi-represented ward. You will be expected to engage with residents by attending Parish Council meetings or through ward, surgeries, emails and phone calls. There will be difficult decisions to make as residents are often divided on local issues and you will be expected to explain the actions of the Council. By remaining impartial and following the Council's procedures you will be able to make a positive difference.

How do I help my constituents?

A key part of your role as a Councillor is to represent your ward and the individual citizens who live in it. You are the bridge between the community and the Council. You will be contacted by your constituents with requests for help and you are likely to receive a lot of post, emails and phone calls. In terms of helping your constituents with their problems, you are not expected to be familiar with every single detail across the whole range of policies and services. Your job is to represent their concerns to the Council and try to get the problem solved.

You will not be able to solve every single problem but you should be able to make a difference for many of those who request your help. However, you should bear in mind that many people contact their local Councillor for help on issues that are not the responsibility of the local authority. In these cases you will try to put people in touch with other relevant agencies which can help.

Which Committees will I be sitting on?

The proportion of seats each political group gets on each committee is determined by the number of group members they may have (called political balance). Provisions exist to protect the entitlement of independent members. The Group Leaders then appoint councillors to those seats. This is all agreed at the annual meeting of the Full Council, which is normally held in May each year.

How will I know what is being discussed at a Committee Meeting?

By law, a Public Notice of a meeting with its date, time, venue and agenda must be posted publicly five clear working days before a meeting takes place. The agendas for meetings will be sent to the committee members at the same time and an email sent to all councillors. If there are any issues of interest to, or of concern to you and your ward and you are not a member of that committee, you can attend the meeting as an observer. You can also ask to speak but you can only vote if you are a member of the committee.

What training will I receive?

There will be induction sessions for newly elected councillors and further training for all councillors relating to the Council's services over the following six months. As well as this the Council will continue to support councillors' development needs during the term of office and you will be asked to complete a training needs analysis to help shape this process. Councillor support is provided by the Democratic Services team.

Where do I go if I need advice on the Council's services?

You can receive advice and guidance from a number of sources. You will be provided with contact details for all the Council's departments and can contact them directly. You can also liaise with more experienced councillors who will be able to assist. Finally, you can always contact Democratic Services who will either provide the advice needed or help direct you to where you can get the information.

Will I represent the Council on any other organisations?

The Council has a number of positions on other organisations which are collectively referred to as 'Outside Bodies'. Appointments to these outside bodies are made every two years at the Annual meeting of Full Council. If you are interested in any of these, you should talk to your group leader.

Can I have time off from work to attend Council meetings?

Yes. By law, if you are employed you are entitled to reasonable time-off to fulfil your role as a Councillor, although your employer does not have to give you paid time off. What is reasonable time off is not defined and will depend upon a number of factors, so you will need to talk with your employer about this.

What am I allowed to claim expenses for?

You will be entitled to a basic allowance that is paid in monthly instalments which reimburses costs you incur by doing Council business. You can claim for travelling to and from a committee meeting of which you are a member, Cabinet meetings and training sessions. You can also claim for travelling to and from Parish Council meetings held in your area of which you are not a member and for representing the Council at external meetings. There is also a childcare and dependants' carers allowance for attendance at meetings. Claims must be submitted on the correct claim form within three months of the expenditure being incurred.

How will the Council communicate with me?

The Council relies on IT and electronic means of communication both internally and with the public. As the public increasingly expects to be able to contact their local representatives by email, Councillors will be expected to have to use email and the internet. The Council will provide all Councillors with an official email address which is to be used for all Council business and which will be published on the Council's website.

Councillors will also be provided with access to relevant Council IT Systems and electronic information. Councillors are emailed a 'Councillors' Bulletin' each week and this includes articles of interest and important information relevant to all Councillors. 

Nearly anyone can become a councillor, and you don't need any qualifications to do it. To find out more about how you can become a councillor please visit the Local Government Association - Be a Councillor website (external link)

Be a Councillor - Stand for What you believe in (external link) 

A summary publication that outlines the role of a councillor, how councils work, gives perspectives from existing councillors and provides contact details for further information.

Be a Councillor Guide for Disabled People (external link)

Disabled people are currently under represented in public and political life. This publication provides a guide to becoming a councillor for people with disabilities.

Electoral Commission (external link)

The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. This link contains all the guidance and resources that you need if you are a candidate or agent at local elections in England.

 

Council meetings are usually held in the Civic Community Hall in Hailsham during normal office hours (9am & 5pm). By law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off to perform your duties as a councillor. However, it is advisable to discuss your intention to stand for election with your employer before submitting your nomination form.

View further information regarding key dates and events.

 

Click on the link below to access maps showing the new electoral divisions for each of the wards in Wealden which will be in place for the May 2019 election. Instructions on how to navigate the maps are also included. Click on the Final Recommendations link.

Please note: some files are of a considerable size and may therefore take a while to download to your device. All files are in PDF format. The approximate size of each file is indicated in italics.

The Council has 55 District Councillors elected in 35 Wards. There are also 35 Parish Councils, 4 Town Councils and 3 Parish Meetings within the District and 14 County Councillors. The District is divided into four Parliamentary constituencies and is part of the South East Region for the European Parliament.

Elections are held every four years for all seats, the next Election is May 2019.  Following a review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, the Council size will be reduced to 45 at the next elections in 2019.

Political Composition of the Council

  • Conservatives 48
  • Independent Democrats 4
  • Wealden Independents 3

The Conservative Group has overall control of the Council.

Who's Who

The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Leader of the Council are appointed on an yearly basis at the Annual Meeting of the Council usually held in May.

Contact Democratic Services