Become a county councillor
County councillors, or Members of the County Council as they are often called, represent all the people within their County Electoral Division, and work to secure high-quality services for the residents of and visitors to Hampshire. Councillors have a responsibility to keep in touch with the people they represent about Council policies and decisions that affect them.
- Geographical areas
A County Electoral Division is the geographical area that a Member of the County Council represents.
The County Council has 75 County Electoral Divisions but 78 county councillors. In three County Electoral Divisions, two county councillors are elected.
- Holding office
The qualifications and disqualifications for holding office are found in the Local Government Act 1972.
Qualifications and disqualifications:
- Section 79 - Qualifications for election and holding office as member of local authority
- Section 80 - Disqualifications for election and holding office as member of local authority
- Section 81 - Exceptions to provisions of section 80
- Section 85 - Vacation of office by failure to attend meetings
The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 - Part 1 has information about disqualification and politically restricted posts.
More detailed information about politically restricted posts is given in Sections 2, 4, 5 and 9 of this Act.
You must ensure that you are not disqualified from standing for election.
- Allegiance to a political group
Councillors don't have to belong to any political group, but most do. Some candidates stand as independents.
- Commitment needed
It depends on how much time and commitment you give to the role. It could be a few hours, or several days per week. If you are working you would need to discuss the commitment with your employer before making the decision.
You would need to attend meetings of the County Council and its committees. You may also be invited to less formal meetings. The County Council's meetings are usually held during office hours. It is also likely you would be contacted by members of the public in the evenings and weekends.
The County Council may appoint you to a representational role on committees of other organisations, locally or nationally, and community groups in or around the area you represent. Your local parish or district council may invite you to its meetings.
Councillors don't get paid a salary. They receive an annual allowance, called the 'basic' allowance, and may claim for eligible travel expenses. Councillors who take on more challenging roles may also receive a Special Responsibility Allowance.
The County Council's Members' Allowances Scheme can be found in part 4 of the Constitution.
County Council staff will provide advice and assistance about the County Council's services. Should you stand for election and be elected, the County Council will very quickly take steps to settle you in and to help you find your way around the organisation. You should soon get to know who key contacts are within the County Council, both at its headquarters at The Castle, Winchester and at its local offices.
Democratic and Member Services will be a first point of contact for you with a range of administrative support being provided by Members Secretariat to all Members of the Council. For some of the Members of the County Council's Executive further support is provided such as arranging meetings and diary management.
In addition, IT equipment can be provided to give councillors access to Hantsweb (the County Council's website) and Hantsnet (the County Council's intranet) to support and facilitate their work.
- Next steps
First you need to decide whether you want to represent a political party, or whether you want to stand as an independent candidate. If you decide you want to represent a political party you must contact that party's local organisation first. Contact details can be found on the Electoral Commission's register of political parties.
When your chosen political party has authorised your candidacy you can obtain from your local district council's Electoral Registration Office the candidate's pack, including a nomination form, which you will need to complete and other useful information about being a candidate for election to the County Council.