Guildford Borough Council can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it. The council needs councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people and a passion for change.
What matters to you in your local area? Is it that Guildford is the most desirable place to live, work and visit in South East England? A centre for education, healthcare, innovative cutting-edge businesses, high quality retail and wellbeing. A county town set in a vibrant rural environment, which balances the needs of urban and rural communities alike. Known for our outstanding urban planning and design, and with infrastructure that will properly cope with our needs. Whatever needs changing in your local area, you could be the person to change it by becoming a councillor.
Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing a population of over 147,000 across the Borough, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.
Local councillors are the elected representatives of Guildford Borough Council. They are elected for four years unless they are elected at a by-election, in which case they must stand again at the next normal election for the seat.
Representing people in Guildford, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action is the most important task that any councillor undertakes. Significantly, it is also often the role that local people value most.
Being a councillor in Guildford
- About Guildford Borough Council
Guildford Borough Council is made up of 48 councillors who are elected every four years. They represent the 22 wards in the borough. The number of councillors for each ward depends upon the size of the electorate.
- How do I become a councillor in Guildford?
To become a councillor you have to stand at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes from the local electorate.
You do not have to belong to or represent a political party to stand in the elections. You can stand as an Independent Candidate or choose not to have a description to your name. If you choose to stand for a party you will need to go through their selection process before you can be put forward as their candidate. Get in touch for support with independent politics or party politics.
In order to stand at the elections you must first get a set of nomination papers from Electoral Services at Guildford Borough Council, which will explain the nomination process. These packs are available nearer the election date. Find out more about Guildford’s Electoral Service.
- Does Guildford Borough Council pay councillors?
Councillors are not paid a salary but they are entitled to receive a ‘basic allowance’, which is intended to recognise the time devoted to their work on behalf of the people of Guildford and in connection with council business. Each council sets its own rate for councillors’ allowances.
- What support will I receive from Guildford Borough Council?
Guildford Borough Council is committed to providing councillors with advice and support for all aspects of their role. After an election, all new councillors have the opportunity to attend an induction programme to enable them to meet the key people who will support them in their role and attend events to familiarise them with the work of the council, the expectations of councillors and ways in which they can carry out key tasks.
Councillors are also provided with ongoing learning and development support to broaden their knowledge, skills and confidence. In the first few weeks, experienced councillors will be available to guide you in getting to know the workings of the borough council and your role within it. Committee Services will be your point of contact to signpost you round the council for the first couple of months.
iPads will be issued at the reception day for newly elected councillors. We will provide a secure app for Androids and iPads that will enable you to remotely access the Council’s systems, email, calendar, contact information as well as Council and Committee papers. Remote access can also be facilitated via councillors’ own home laptops/and or tablet devices.
All councillors are expected to provide at their own expense, a private ADSL broadband connection and computer hardware, including a printer and consumables. ICT staff can assist and advise councillors but will not be able to place orders on their behalf.
Mobile phones are issued to all councillors that sit on the Executive, the Chairmen and the Leaders of the Political Groups.
- What support is available from Guildford Borough Council for councillors with disabilities?
An audio loop system is available in Council Chamber for people with a hearing impairment. Councillors are encouraged to contact Member Services following their election to discuss their personal needs so that reasonable adjustments can be made.
Hear from Guildford Borough councillors
Councillor Mike Parsons
I had for a very long time, an interest in local politics and how individuals can influence decisions that directly affect local communities. There was an opportunity to become involved with local community groups and applied to become a Parish Councillor to return something to my community with a chance to represent them and their views on making an investment directly in the community. It then transpired that I was invited to take that extra step to represent my community at the next level a step I felt that I could make a greater contribution.
Councillor Mike Hurdle
I was elected as one of the Send Ward councillors in 2015. My career was in Education; and I had worked as the Deputy Headteacher of a Woking Junior School, and had been involved with the management of an Out of Hours club for children attending the school.
I stood for election to represent the village in which I once worked, I’ve lived there for over twenty years, and I had a wish to represent views about the Local Plan which will shape Guildford for years to come. Since being elected, I have served on the Corporate Governance and Standards Committee, which monitors finance and the general good running of the Council; on the Licencing Committee and its sub-committees, which deal with e.g., people licensed to sell alcohol or drive taxis and private hire vehicles; and I’ve taken part in a number of working parties.
For many years I have also acted with and directed for the Send Amateur Dramatic Society, which is where I met my wife, Debbie. I drive for the village Help organisation, and sing as a baritone with the Guildford Barbershop Harmony Club, which I also chair.
Councillor Colin Cross
I was first elected at a by-election in September 2014 and subsequently retained my Guildford Borough seat in the May 2015 elections, with an increased majority.
I have lived with my family in Ripley, Surrey, for over 40 years and have been active in many fields during that time, running local businesses, being a school governor and treasurer, and even being a regular pantomime dame during the 1990’s!
I decided to stand as a councillor as my small community in Lovelace Ward only amounts to some 2,000 people and the GBC developing Local Plan would see this increased to around 7,000 over the next 20 years. My concerns are manifold and include the lack of necessary infrastructure, the increase in congestion on the nearby A3 and M25 trunk roads, air quality and the environment to name a few.
I vow to fight this plan until it is finally defeated, or I am, and that may be a long time yet!
Councillor Angela Gunning
‘Being a Borough Councillor has given me so much insight into how the services in Guildford are organised and run, and being able to participate in planning their delivery. I enjoy speaking to residents, understanding their problems and helping to sort things out. And not just that, but also being able to contribute in keeping Guildford a lovely and safe place to live.’
- How can I find out about training and development at Guildford Borough Council?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
- Electoral ward maps for Guildford Borough Council
The easy answer is, “almost definitely”.
As long as you are:
- British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union
- At least 18 years old
- Registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election.
If you are in any doubt about whether you are eligible to stand as a councillor, you should contact the electoral services department at your local council for advice.
You can’t be a councillor if you:
- Work for the council you want to be a councillor for, or for another local authority in a political restricted post
- Are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
- Have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the five years before election day
- Have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court.
- Next steps
To become a councillor, you have to put yourself forward at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes.
Below are some of the most important steps to consider.
- Find out when the next local government elections are in your area by checking with your local council).
- Make sure you are registered on the electoral roll with your local council.
- If you are 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 will 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. This can take up to about a year or more, so please contact your political party as soon as you can. You can also contact the Local Government Association (LGA) political offices.
- Almost anyone can be a councillor but to check that you are eligible
- Hear from real councillors about what it’s like being a councillor and their tips and inspiration
- Get in touch with a councillor to find out more with an informal chat (or ask us to help)
- Watch the Be a Councillor film
- Use our Be a Councillor worksheets to see how you would handle some real situations as a councillor
- Explore, research and keep up to date about your local area, different communities, services, issues and ideas.
- Attend council meetings and local events to find out more about local government and your community.
- Read the guidance from the Electoral Commission about the processes and forms to fill out to put yourself forward for election. To become nominated as a candidate at a local government election in England, you need to submit a completed set of nomination papers to the place fixed by the Returning Officer by 4pm on the 19th working day before the poll.
- Contact the Democratic Services team at your council to get the necessary paperwork, find out the deadlines, and see what help they can give to submit your papers. Find your local council.
- You will need to get the signature of two registered electors from the ward you wish to stand in. They must be of voting age, and must appear on the local government electoral register that is in force on the 25th working day before the election.
- Build your local profile, reputation and campaign. Find out more about campaigning from the Local Government Association’s Independent Office, your political party, or the Electoral Commission.
- Key dates
Council meetings are usually held in the evening starting at 7pm but can occasionally occur during the day.
In the run up to the election, we will update this page with key dates for new councillors to be aware of.
- Useful contacts
Be a Councillor Email: email@example.com
Guildford Borough Council
Democratic Services and Elections Manager
Tel: 01483 444102
Political Group office contacts
17A Home Farm
Tel: 01483 300330
Fax: 01483 300321
96 London Road
Tel: 01483 829305 (landline)
Guildford Greenbelt Group
Guildford Green Party
Mr Mark Parry
The Peace Party – Non-Violence, Justice, Environment
Mr John Morris
- Common questions about being a councillor