Being a councillor

Information event - Being a Councillor guide and further information

In support of our information evening held on 16 October 2018 we have produced a guide to being a Councillor in Epsom and Ewell, and made the  presentation from the evening available on this page. The guide and presentation explain what being a councillor in Epsom and Ewell entails and provide information about how the Council works, the nomination process for the 2019 elections, and what support is available to councillors.

Timetable for May 2019 Borough Council Elections nominations

Nomination must be submitted by a statutory deadline. An election timetable to meet this deadline will be available early in 2019. Prior to this being published, the "Be a Councillor" and Electoral Commission's websites provide a large amount of helpful information to help you decide if being a councillor is for you and the process of standing for election.

Key dates following the 2019 elections

We will be providing a comprehensive induction and welcome programme for all Councillors elected at the May 2019 Borough Council elections. There are several important events to be aware of in advance of the elections, which you will need to be able to attend if you are successfully elected. Indicative dates for May 2019 include:

  • Tuesday 7 May (daytime) - a welcome to the Council and declarations of acceptance of office
  • Thursday 9 May (daytime) - ICT enrolment and a showcase of Council services
  • Wednesday 15 May (daytime) - a number of briefings and workshops on issues of importance, including Ward Work, Decision Making, Safeguarding and Committee Procedure.
  • Thursday 16 May (evening) - an introduction to Local Government finance
  • Thursday 28 May (evening) - Planning training

In addition to these sessions, a number of Committee meetings and other briefings will be held in May, June and July 2019, in accordance with the Council's annual Municipal Calendar of meetings. A full schedule of induction events and Committee meetings will be included in the nomination pack for the elections. 

A Councillor's role

Councillors are elected by local people to plan, run, monitor and develop council business. This includes taking part in partnerships with others to do this. Councillors work to improve the quality of life for people within the borough.

Councillors usually represent a political party or group, however, they may be independent. All Councillors represent all the residents of the Borough.

The role of a councillor can be very varied and it is up to each individual councillor how they work. However, the three main areas of responsibility are:

...as a representative

Many councillors see their first and foremost role as representing their ward and the people who live there. To do this they deal with constituent enquiries, campaign on local issues, take into account local views when considering policy proposals and in decision-making and ensure local people are informed about decisions that affect them.

...as a community leader

Councillors exercise community leadership by participating in the activities of any outside body to which they are appointed and reporting back to the council.

...as a policy maker

All councillors are involved in decision making. This can be as a member of the council, a committee or an advisory panel.

How do I become a councillor?

To qualify to stand as a councillor in Epsom and Ewell, you must be, on the day you are nominated as a candidate:

  • 18 years of age or over
  • A Commonwealth citizen (which includes a British subject) or a citizen of the European Union (includes Irish Republic)
  • Either a local elector, or you live or work or own a property in the area.

There is also a national "Be a councillor" website which provides information for anyone thinking of becoming a councillor, and further information on the Electoral Commission's website.

What would stop me becoming a councillor?

You can be disqualified from holding the office of councillor if you:

  • Have a conviction for corruption or illegal practices
  • Have been convicted within the last five years of an offence with a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for not less than 3 months without the option of a fine
  • you are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order (note: being bankrupt is not a disqualification).

What should I do if I want to stand for election?

In order to stand for elections, a candidate must submit a nomination paper signed by ten electors for the electoral ward together with consent to nomination, by the statutory deadline. Additional requirements apply if you wish to stand on behalf of a registered political party.

Nomination papers and candidates' packs including details of qualifications and the electoral process are available from the Electoral Services section approximately two months before an election.

The next borough elections will take place in May 2019, to elect 38 Councillors (also called 'Members'). Councillors are elected for a period of 4 years.

What if you are already in employment?

Most employers are prepared, within reason, to grant some time off for council work. You should discuss this with your employer before making the commitment. However, the majority of council meetings are held in the evening to minimise difficulties for those in full-time employment.

What support will be given?

The council provides a comprehensive induction programme for newly elected councillors and other development opportunities throughout the year. Councillors are entitled to receive a basic allowance to help meet their expenses. There are special responsibility allowances payable depending on the roles and responsibilities of each member. You will also be provided with suitable information technology equipment and appropriate training and support.