If you are interested in becoming a councillor in Angus, this guide provides and insight into:
- the process for standing for election
- eligibility requirements to be a councillor
- the role and responsibilities of a councillor
- what being a councillor entails; and
- the skills, experiences and personal qualities that are needed to fulfil that role.
Are you considering standing for election at the local government elections?
Councillors represent the local people in their ward, and the residents of Angus as a whole by making decisions in the council or at committees.
Angus Council currently has 28 councillors representing 8 wards. These are known as multi-member wards as each ward has more than one elected member, or councillor.
Full information about standing for election as a councillor will be available on this website in due course.
How do I become a councillor?
To be able to stand for election as a councillor you must be:
- 18 years of age or over on the day of your nomination
- Either a British citizen, an Irish citizen an eligible Commonwealth citizen, or a qualifying foreign national
- Meet at least one of the following:
- You are registered as a local government elector for the local authority area in which you wish to stand on the day of your nomination.
- You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination.
- Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination has been in the local authority area.
- You have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination.
Some people are not eligible to be councillors for legal reasons or because they are disqualified under the nomination criteria. Further information can be found on the Electoral Commission website: Guidance for Candidates and Agents - Part 1 – Can you stand for election?
What is the process for being nominated?
To become nominated as a candidate at a council election, you will need to submit completed nomination papers.
Every candidate who is nominated to stand at an election must appoint an election agent. The election agent is responsible for the proper management of your election campaign, particularly its financial management. If you appoint another person to be your election agent, the person must agree in writing to be appointed. If you do not appoint an election agent, you automatically become your own election agent.
At the close of nominations, a notice of poll will be published, confirming the details of every candidate standing for election in each ward.
For more information, please refer to the Electoral Commission’s Guidance for candidates and agents.
What is the role of a councillor?
Being a local councillor involves holding a position of trust and can be a rewarding experience. The role requires both commitment and hard work and councillors have to balance the needs and interests of residents, the political party they represent (if any) and the council.
An elected member is expected to serve the interests of constituents and represent them in council meetings. Your role will be to listen, explain council policy and make sure that policy has been carried out fairly and according to official procedures. Your role on the council is to plan, run, monitor, and develop council business. Councillors are essential in deciding what is in the public interest in the midst of a range of conflicting issues and views.
The role will place a number of demands on a councillor’s time, on top of their personal and professional lives and therefore, it is beneficial to discuss your aspiration to become a councillor with your family and friends to make sure you, and they, understand the requirement of the role.
Demands will increase if the councillor appointed to a leading position within the council such as a chair of a committee and in some instances (such as Council Leader or Provost) is likely to require a full-time commitment.
What skills does a councillor need?
A councillor does not need to have any specific qualifications; however, the following skills/knowledge are beneficial for Councillors to have to develop. A councillor is not expected to have all these skills when first elected. Development and training support is provided to all councillors to assist them in undertaking their role.
Beneficial skills/knowledge includes:
- a commitment to public services and representing constituents
- the ability to focus on what best improves communities and the county as a whole
- the ability to consider a wide range of information
- maintaining an objective and analytical mind
- being a decisive and quick thinker
- the ability to scrutinise information/data and to provide clear and reasoned decisions
- the ability to communicate with constituents in an equal, polite, fair, and transparent manner
- being an effective communicator and presenter and adopting appropriate style for different audiences
- the ability to negotiate and be diplomatic
- an understanding of the council’s budgeting and financial systems
- an understanding of the role of the council and its governance arrangements
- the ability to work with others
- knowledge of IT systems such as email and Microsoft Office and MS Teams
What support do councillors receive?
The Executive Support team provide support to councillors in their busy roles by helping them to run their offices and prepare for meetings and events. The team helps councillors with the following:
- administrative support (non-party political)
- registering of Members’ Interests and Gifts and Hospitality
- research, information, guidance, advice, and protocols
- providing training on council systems
- arranging travel and accommodation
Do councillors receive training?
The Executive Support and Organisational Development teams look after the development and training of councillors. The development offered to each councillor will be tailored so that it is relevant to the person, their skills, and their role. The development that we offer will support the profiles of the roles that a councillor might undertake, as identified by the national Improvement Service for local government in Scotland.
The Organisational Development team will contact newly elected councillors individually to discuss your continuing professional development needs. This is likely to be after the summer recess; however, councillors can contact the team directly if there are any specific areas you wish to discuss before that.
Councillors will also have access to training opportunities held regularly throughout their term of office. We can deliver training and development in a variety of different ways – including one to one sessions and online courses as well as the more traditional methods – to suit different learning preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be a member of a political party?
No, you can be nominated and elected as an independent councillor.
How much time would I have to commit to the role?
This varies depending on the amount of council, ward and political party business that applies to you. Council meetings are generally held during the working day and can last several hours.
Can I be employed and also be a councillor?
Yes, although it will be up to you to balance your workload to ensure you are able to fulfil your responsibilities and commitments as a councillor. It is important that you discuss the issue with your employer.
If you hold any paid office or employment or other place of profit in the gift or disposal of the council, you may stand for election to the council (unless you hold a politically restricted post). However, if you are elected, you will have to resign from your job if you want to take up your seat. Your resignation will take immediate effect regardless of any notice period previously specified.
Will my employer have to release me for council duty?
Employers are required under the Employment Rights Act 1996 to provide reasonable time off for public duties, but you should discuss this with your employer. However, you should note that there is no legal requirement for an employer to pay a councillor for the time they take off to carry out their councillor role.
Where and when are council meetings held?
Meetings of the Council and its committees are ordinarily held in the Town & County Hall, Forfar. However, during the pandemic meetings have moved to taking place online with councillors working from home. The future of this approach is currently under discussion. Although you may have to attend meetings out with Angus on Council business. Meetings of the main committees are held over a six-week cycle. There is a timetable of meetings on the Angus Council website.
Do councillors get paid, and can they claim expenses?
Councillors are paid an annual salary and are entitled to claim for expenses related to the undertaking of council business.
Will I be provided with equipment?
All councillors will receive a laptop computer and work telephone if required. Angus Council works digitally as much as possible and is an Agile organisation.
If you have any queries about standing for election, please contact the Election team:
Phone: 01307 491843
If you have any queries about being a councillor, please get in touch:
Phone: 01307 492614