So You Want To Be A District Councillor?
The Role of a Councillor
South Bucks District Council has 40 District Councillors each of whom represents a particular Ward in the District. Councillors come from all walks of life. This is very important as it means that a diverse range of local people reflecting different points of view are helping to shape and develop the quality and effectiveness of services which the Council provides for the benefit of all residents.
If you are elected as a councillor, you will have a number of challenging roles, which could include:
representing the ward
policy and strategy review and development
overview and scrutiny
community leadership and engagement
The primary role of a councillor is to represent their ward and the people who live in it. Members of political parties may find that their party offers advice and guidance on doing this. How the other parts of your role develop will be influenced by what committees or groups you may be appointed to. Approving the major policy framework, the annual budget and setting the Council Tax are important decisions taken by the full Council at which all councillors are involved. Contributing to policy and strategy development may be achieved by membership of one of the Council's Policy Advisory Groups, which exist to assist and advise each Cabinet Member to decide or make recommendations within their area of responsibility. Regulatory duties could involve sitting on the Planning Committee or the Licensing Committee to consider and determine applications that are made. If you sit on the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, you would play a part in reviewing decisions made by and the performance of the Cabinet and Council.
Could you become a Councillor?
To be able to stand for election to the District Council you should be:
You must also:
at least 18 years old and a British subject or citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of another Member state of the European Community
How do I stand for election?
be a local government elector for South Bucks District Council or
during the whole twelve months before your nomination, have occupied as owner or tenant land or premises in the District, or
have had your main (or only) place of work in the District during that period, or
have lived in the District for the whole twelve months before your nomination
Full Council elections takes place every four years. The last election were in May 2011 and then next one will be in May 2015.
You may want some advice about nominations, election expenses or any other aspects of the election. Information can be obtained from the Electoral Services Office on 01895 837225.
If you are interested in standing for election as a District Councillor each candidate must be nominated by a separate nomination paper, signed by 10 registered electors of the ward in which they wish to stand.
If you want to stand as a candidate for a registered political party you are also required to submit a certificate, from the party's nominating officer, authorising your candidacy and use of the party's description and emblem.
If you are standing independently, you can only describe yourself as "Independent" or give no description at all.
You must also give, in writing, your consent to your nomination.
All these documents must be submitted to the Returning Officer by noon 19 working days before polling day.
Will I have to pay a deposit?
No deposit is required to stand in local elections.
How long would my term of office be?
Unless you are elected at a by-election, you should expect to serve for four years. Councillors elected at a by-election serve the remaining period of the four year term.
Do I have to represent a political party?
Although most candidates do represent a political party, it is not a requirement and you can stand as an independent candidate.
How much time will I have to commit?
This will depend on several factors such as, how involved you want to be, your political activities and if you choose to be involved in particular issues.
As a rough guide the minimum is likely to average about 1 day a week. But leading Councillors such as Political Group Leaders and Committee Chairmen would spend considerably more time than this.
Will I get paid?
All Councillors receive an annual basic allowance currently £4,100. Councillors who take on positions of responsibility receive extra allowances. All Councillors may claim for certain expenses.
As a Councillor you must expect to give up some of your time for the benefit of the community. Although most employers will, within reason, allow some time off for Council work this is something you need to check with your employer before making a commitment.
What support will be provided?
All Councillors will take part in an induction programme, introducing you to the business of the Council. Training for Councillors in specific skills and roles will continue throughout the term of office.
The basic allowance paid to you is to recognise your time commitment and also to cover your expenses, for instance the running of a personal computer with broadband connection. This will enable communication with the Council and with your electorate by e-mail, an essential tool to assist you in carrying out your duties as a Councillor.
The Officers of the Council are available to assist you in any way they can, such as giving advice about Council procedures. Officers cannot, however assist in any activity that could be interpreted as supporting or assisting a political party or in any private or personal capacity.
Where can I get more information?
More information about standing for election to the Council can be obtained by contacting our elections staff.
If you are interested in standing in any elections to the Council, please let the elections office know as soon as possible and they will send you details, the various forms and the detailed election timetable when they become available. Further details are available on
The Electoral Commission's website.
If you would like further information or want to discuss anything about Electoral Registration, please contact the Electoral Services Office:
South Bucks District Council