Becoming a Town Councillor for Skegness

Skegness Town Council is a medium to large sized parish covering Skegness & Winthorpe. The Council currently employees 11 people but is looking to expand this due to a proposed asset transfer from ELDC to Skegness Town Council. The Council serves a population of around 22,000 people. The Council has 21 Councillors including a Mayor and Deputy Mayor. The proposed budget for 2019/20 is £698,090 with a precept needed of £469,290.

A list of the Councils' Current duties:

  • Management of the Cemetery, Remembrance Garden, Sunshine Play Area, Allotments, Christmas Illuminations and some of the benches, notice boards and bus shelters in the town
  • Provision of Community Grants
  • Review and comment on planning applications within the Town
  • Liaise with relevant authorities regarding infrastructure /policing/community issues to represent your views and get the best advantage for the local area
  • Engage with all interested parties regarding current and future shape of life in the local area
  • Amenity grass cutting in Skegness and maintenance of some parish paths
  • Jolly Fisherman Trademark
  • Hanging Baskets and Planters (Town Centre and Castleton Boulevard only)
  • War Memorial maintenance
  • Neighbourhood Development Plan
  • Charity Street Collection Licensing
  • Remembrance Parade organisation
  • Mayoral and Town Crier support for events
  • Provision of Christmas Illuminations

To find out more about what the Council gets up to see the website, read the annual report and come to a meeting.

Are you qualified to be a Councillor?

A Councillor is a person elected (whether his election is contested or not) or co-opted into a Council and is the holder of a public office.

To qualify you must be:

  • Over 18 years of age
  • A Commonwealth citizen or Euronational
  • On the electoral register

You must also meet at least one of the four following qualifications on the day you are nominated and on polling day:

  • be registered as a local government elector for the parish area in which you are standing
  • have occupied as an owner or a tenant any land or premises in the parish area in which you are standing during the whole of the 12 months before the day you are nominated
  • have had your main or only place of work during the last 12 months in the parish area in which you are standing
  • have lived in the parish area or within three miles of it in which you are standing during the whole of the last 12 months

There are certain people who are disqualified from being a Town Councillor. You cannot be a candidate if at the time of your nomination and on polling day you are employed by Skegness Town Council, are subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order, have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence) or have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983. If you are unsure on whether you qualify please contact Skegness Town Council office or the Elections Team at East Lindsey District Council to discuss.

Further information on standing for election in a Town or Parish Council can be found from the Electoral Commissions website http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/candidate-or-agent/parish-and-community-council-elections-in-england-and-wales

How much of my time will it take?

Town and Parish Councillors spend on average about 3 hours a week on Council work (NALC Councillor census survey). Skegness Town Council holds monthly Council meetings, on top of this there are Committee meetings, working group meetings and community engagement and consultation events, these can be in the evening and sometimes in the day. A Councillors normal term of office is four years.

"Clearly understand that there is a time commitment that will impinge on your free time" Comment from current Town Councillor.

Will I get paid?

Working as a Councillor is a voluntary role. However, Skegness Town Council has opted to use its' power to pay an allowance to elected Councillors, this is currently £500 per year, this is to cover expenses like internet provision, printing and posting.

What's involved?

A Councillor must make a declaration of acceptance of office in a prescribed formand must abide by the Councils' Code of Conduct.

The main responsibilities and expectations of a Councillor are:

  • To represent their ward
  • A duty to attend meetings - expect to attend around 30 meeting per year
  • Decision making through attending meetings and committees with other elected members
  • To sit on Committees and working groups
  • To attend training
  • To raise matters for the Council to consider and decide upon
  • To make informed contributions which influence debate
  • Be familiar with and follow Standing Orders (the rules of the Council)
  • To abide with the Code of Conduct
  • Duty to disclose and register financial interests and that of Spouse/Partner
  • Community leadership & Engagement
  • Take part in public consultation exercises
  • Represent the Council and go to meeting of outside bodies that affect the wider community
  • Take up residents' issues and signpost them to the correct authority
  • Participate in the monitoring and governance of Council activities

Will I be able to change anything?

Skegness Town Council must work within its powers and duties these are growing and it is an exciting time to be involved as more assets and responsibilities are transferred from District and County Councils. A Council cannot do anything unless permitted by legislation. In general, a Parish or Town Council can make decisions on the land and assets it owns and the services it provides. A list of powers and duties can be found at the back of the good councillor guide. For example, at the moment, you would not have the power to make decisions to fix all the potholes in Skegness as this is the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council.

"Be realistic in what you think you can achieve" comment from current Town Councillor.

How can I find out more?

  • Visit the Electoral Commissions website and read the guidance for candidates.
  • Visit the Town Councils' website, subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on social media
  • Come to a meeting
  • Read the Good Councillors Guide
  • Talk to other Town Councillors or the Town Clerk

Am I eligible to stand for election?

To be able to stand as a candidate at a local government election in England and Wales you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a UK or Commonwealth citizen; or be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; or be a citizen of another Member State of the European Union
  • Be an elector of the local council; or in the past 12 months occupied land or other premises in the area the local council serves (as owner or tenant); or work in the area local council serves (as your principal or only place of work); or live within three miles of the local council boundary.

For more information please see the Electoral Commission Website

What’s next?

Check you are eligible and then contact the ELDC elections officer on 01507 601111 for a nomination pack (these should be available from March 2019). Please note your nomination paper and consent to nomination must be delivered by hand to ELDC at Manby Park, Louth.

Further reading

Links