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What does it mean to be an elected councillor?

Standing for election gives you the chance to represent local people, to be a voice for your community, and to help make decisions that affect everyone in your local area.

It means participating in our great democracy and putting yourself forward to stand for election by the people, as a councillor representative of the people, and to make decisions for the people.

District councillors have responsibility for how services are run for Mid Devon residents including planning, housing, environmental health, refuse and recycling, sports and recreation, housing benefits and parking.

Town and parish councillors are also involved in recommending planning decisions, civic events such as Christmas light switch on events, allotments, and standing up for their ward members.

Councillors are ordinary people who've been elected to represent their area for a term of four years. They act as a bridge between the public and their local authority.

How to be an elected councillor FAQs:

  • British citizens, EU and Commonwealth citizens
  • If you're at least 18 years old
  • If you're registered to vote in Mid Devon or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before the election

If you're in any doubt about whether you're eligible to stand as a councillor, you should contact our Electoral Services team for advice.

Take the following e-Learning module to help you decide if being a Councillor is for you:

A district councillor’s role and responsibilities include:

  • Representing the ward for which you're elected
  • Attending council committee meetings (new councillors are likely to be on one or more committees - full training and on-going support is provided)
  • Answering letters, emails and phone calls from constituents
  • Meeting with council staff, usually during the working day
  • Councillors may choose to hold regular drop-in surgeries for residents

For an informal discussion about how the council works, committee meetings and procedures, please contact:

Sally Gabriel
Member Services Manager
Tel: 01884 234229

A town/parish councillor’s role and responsibilities can vary according to the size of the town or parish.

For more information, see the following links:

You don’t need any previous experience or qualifications to become a councillor.

The amount of time taken up with council business depends on the commitments you take on, but can be anything from a few hours a week to several hours a day. If this will affect your job, you should discuss it with your employer before making a decision.

District councillors receive an annual allowance (currently £5,012), plus travel and subsistence costs. Councillors who hold certain positions (e.g. a portfolio holder or chairman), receive an additional allowance to reflect the extra commitments.

For town or parish councillors, please contact the Clerk at your town or parish council to enquire about allowances.

No. You can stand as an independent councillor.

To stand as a district councillor, you just need ten registered electors from the ward you propose to represent to sign your nomination paper. There is no deposit required to stand in local elections.

If you wish to stand for a political party, please contact the party directly.

To stand as a town/parish councillor, you need two registered electors from the town/parish to sign your nomination paper.

Four years, unless you resign before the end of that period.

All new district councillors are expected to attend an induction programme. Our Elected Member Development training programme is continuous, covering a variety of relevant topics and helps to ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge to represent your community effectively.

Our Member Services Team are also available to assist you, for example:

  • to give advice about council procedures;
  • problems in your ward or;
  • just general questions regarding who does what.

For town or parish councillors, please contact the Clerk at your town or parish council to enquire about training and support.

For an informal discussion about the election process and how to stand as a candidate in any of the upcoming district, town or parish council elections on 2 May 2019, please contact:

Jackie Stoneman
Electoral Services Manager
Tel: 01884 234214

To apply to stand as a candidate, please download the relevant nomination pack:

Alternatively, please phone our Electoral Services team on 01884 234255 or contact us to get a nomination pack posted to you.

Note: Completed candidate nominations must be returned in paper format only and delivered by hand to:

The Returning Officer
Phoenix House
EX16 6PP

Nominations are open from 18 March, until 4.00pm, 3 April 2019.

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