While you don't need any special qualifications to be a councillor, one thing they all have in common is the desire to make a difference in their communities.
Being a county councillor you:
- represent the views of people in your area
- tackle local issues
- benefit your local community
- raise issues where it counts and get things done
- get involved and get to the heart of what matters to local people
- help to improve life for those around you
- can change things for the better
- bring new ideas to the table
- are available, flexible and able to listen and act
County council elections take place every 4 years and the next local elections are scheduled for 6 May 2021.
There are 61 electoral divisions across Derbyshire and in most one councillor is elected per division (sometimes called a ward).
There are also 3 divisions in the county where 2 councillors are elected to represent the communities - Glossop and Charlesworth, Eckington and Killamarsh and Alfreton and Somercotes.
Councillors have a wide range of duties, from representing the day to day interests of people who elect them, to getting involved in broader issues of interest to the council and local government as a whole.
Many of our councillors not only represent their wards but take on additional responsibilities too, like sitting on committees, attending conferences or becoming involved in local groups and organisations.
Some also become members of our Cabinet where they oversee and make decisions on whole areas of council work, for example highways, transport and Infrastructure, adult social care and children's services.
To qualify as a candidate for local elections you must:
- be a British or Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of the European Union
- be 18 years of age or more on the date of nomination
- not be disqualified from holding office
Candidates also have to meet one or more of the following criteria:
- they must be included on the electoral register and be a local government elector for the area on the date of nominations and thereafter
- they must have occupied, as owner or tenant, any land or other premises in the area during the 12 months prior to nominations
- their principal or only place of work must have been in the area for the previous 12 months
- they must have resided in the area for the whole of the previous 12 months
What you need to do to stand as a candidate
To become a councillor you have to put yourself forward at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes.
A candidate for all local elections must complete a nomination paper in order to stand for election. The nomination paper has to be signed by the requisite number of electors who live within the electoral ward, parish or division and must be returned by the statutory deadline together with the candidate's consent to nomination.
The deputy returning officers for each district and borough council organise the detailed election planning in their areas on behalf of the county council.
If you're interested in standing for election, the election officers listed here should be your first point of contact. They can advise on matters including election notices, nomination papers, polling stations and counts and will help to guide you through the process.
- Derby City Council: Mick Styne, elections and local land charges manager, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amber Valley Borough Council: Jill Harris, electoral services officer, email: email@example.com
- Bolsover District Council: Becky Brooks, acting electoral services manager, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chesterfield Borough Council: Julie Briggs, elections manager, email: email@example.com
- Derbyshire Dales District Council: email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01629 761335
- Erewash Borough Council: Hayley Brailsford, electoral services manager, email: email@example.com or write to: Town Hall, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 5RP
- High Peak Borough Council: Angela Sherratt, senior elections officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Marion Hancock, senior elections officer, email: email@example.com
- North East Derbyshire District Council: Donna Jawad, electoral services manager, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01246 217058
- South Derbyshire District Council: Emily Cieslak, electoral services officer, email: email@example.com
It's important that you follow the election timetable, and ensure your nomination papers are submitted on time, following the guidance given.
If you're interested in independent politics (not a political party), you can get resources and advice from the Local Government Association's Independent Office and the Independent Campaign Corner. As an independent, you'll also need to start working out your views on local issues and services.
To stand for a political party, you'll need to be a member of the party, get involved locally and go through their selection process before you can be put forward as their candidate for election. You can find out more on each party's website. It's advisable to contact your political party as soon as you can. You can also contact the Local Government Association (LGA) political offices.
If you have further queries you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also be interested in reading guidance from the Electoral Commission about the processes and forms to fill out to put yourself forward for election.
What councillors do
Derbyshire county councillors are democratically accountable to residents of their divisions. The overriding duty of councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.
The role of the modern councillor is wide and varied.
- are collectively the ultimate policy-makers and carry out a number of strategic and corporate functions
- contribute to the good governance of the area and actively encourage citizen involvement in decision-making
- act as community leaders in representing their areas
- effectively represent the interests of their division and of individual constituents
- respond to constituents' enquiries and representations, fairly and impartially
- participate in the governance and management of the council
- maintain the highest standards of conduct and ethics
- serve the public interest and take decisions having regard to the interests of the whole local community
The Local Government Association has produced a useful guide to being a councillor called the councillor's role.