Reigate & Banstead 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.
What matters to you in your local area? Is it providing more things for young people to do, improving services for older people, making the roads safer or ensuring that local businesses can thrive?
Perhaps you are already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step. Or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your local community. Councillors should be able to stand for what they believe in, be able to make a commitment to local people and show a passion for change.
Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing the borough’s 140,000 residents, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.
On Thursday 6 May 2021, all 45 Reigate & Banstead Borough Council seats are up for election. This is an opportunity for you to stand as a representative of your local community and become a borough councillor.
We need plenty of talented, high-quality candidates to stand in the election who are willing to work hard and make a difference to their local communities.
No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to the quality of life of people in your local area and influence the way issues are dealt with locally and across Reigate & Banstead.
- About the council
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council exists to serve everyone who lives or works in the borough, helping people to be healthy, happy and enjoy a good quality of life. They also help more vulnerable members of our communities who need some extra support.
Some borough council services are very visible to everyone in the borough, but there are many others you may only know about if you come into direct contact with them.
The borough council:
- maintains 55 parks and open spaces and 33 children’s play areas
- provides refuse and recycling services to every home in the borough, emptying over a million bins and boxes every year
In different ways, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council touches the lives of everyone in the borough.
- provides three leisure centres, which receive 1.2m visits every year
- keeps the streets clean and tidy, removing 1,400 tonnes of litter every year
- provides support and advice to local businesses, including grants to help them thrive and grow
- plans for development across the borough and handles over 1,600 planning applications every year
- delivers town centre improvements and regeneration
- supports public health by licencing and regulating over 3,200 bars, restaurants, events, taxis and drivers
- supports communities and vulnerable residents, with community development, family support and housing services
- How do I become a councillor in Reigate & Banstead Borough Council?
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.
- What does it involve?
Councillors are elected to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council to represent the local community, so you must either live or work in the Reigate & Banstead council area. Becoming a councillor is both a rewarding and privileged form of public service. You will be in a position to make a difference to the quality of other people’s daily lives and prospects.
Being an effective councillor requires both commitment and hard work. You will have to balance the needs and interests of residents, the political party you represent (if you have been elected as a member of a party) and the council. These will all make legitimate demands on a councillor’s time, on top of the demands and needs of your personal and professional life.
- What are the roles and responsibilities?
The councillor’s role and responsibilities include:
- serving the community
- representing local people
- working with others, especially within their local wards
- talking to the community about what the council is doing
- developing strategies and plans
- decision making or reviewing decisions
Many councillors hold regular drop-in surgeries each month and / or attend community meetings. These are a chance for residents to meet you and discuss their problems or concerns. You may also need to spend time visiting constituents in their homes. On top of this you will be dealing with letters, emails and phone calls from constituents.
The council has a leader and council system of governance and operates a number of committees. Councillors are often required to attend formal committee meetings that are usually held in the evenings.
Some councillors are also appointed to represent the council on outside organisations such as charities and public bodies.
If you are a member of a political party you will also be expected to attend political group meetings, party training and other events.
Councillors are often invited to lots of other meetings and events in their communities, such as parish council meetings or meetings about community safety and policing.
- Does Reigate and Banstead 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 Reigate and Banstead and in connection with council business. Each council sets its own rate for councillors’ allowances.
- Hear from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
Toby Brampton, Labour Party – previous candidate
“I stood to become a councillor to ensure we had a vibrant local democracy where people truly felt their vote mattered and they had a range of candidates and parties to choose from. I wanted to ensure that a broad range of views were represented in our local democracy and especially that the values of my party were strongly represented, that voters of my party had a candidate to vote for on the day and that those of the other parties felt truly like they were partaking in an active democracy and their vote meant something.
“More than believing in any one politician or party I strongly believe in our democracy itself, while I wanted to represent residents as a councillor following my beliefs and putting the aims and values of my party into action for the benefit of the community I felt that even just by standing as a candidate and campaigning hard along with my party colleagues we could help improve our local democracy and that this itself would have benefits for our local community.”
Cllr Jill Bray, Residents Associations
“I became a councillor because I wanted to protect and improve my local area; no one seemed to be focused on what was happening locally.
“Being a councillor can be very rewarding – helping people and seeing changes made for the better – but you do need to be persistent to see the job through.”
Cllr Jonathan Essex, Green Party
“I got involved in politics because I wanted to help build better local communities here where I live, whilst still linking to global issues including poverty and climate change. I was working in Bangladesh, where I saw communities living on the frontline of climate change. I realised that their problems were exacerbated by policies of governments in the north, so it was only by moving back that I could help. I’ve served as a councillor in Redhill for eight years on the local council and five years on the county council.
“It has been a great privilege, meeting all sorts of interesting people and being able to help with their projects and try to turn community ideas into reality. I’ve worked on a range of issues: from where houses are planned, recycling to potholes, from improving our cycling and community facilities. It’s also been frustrating at times – as a member of a small opposition party you need patience and diplomacy for different voices to be heard. That’s why I hope more will stand with the Greens to create a stronger voice for residents across all our communities on the council.”
Cllr Rich Michalowski, Conservative Party
“I stood to become a councillor because I’m interested in the place I live in and the people who live here. It’s that simple!
“There are lots of reasons why people stand as a councillor. I stood because I found myself sitting on the sofa and reading about local issues on my phone. I could have continued to watch from the side-lines or I could get involved. I decided to find out more and get involved!
“Councillors come from a variety of backgrounds. To my mind, they all believe that they can contribute positively to the community by representing residents, working through the issues and making the place we live in better. I’m no different and I would encourage you to do just that. Come and join in.”
Cllr Anna Tarrant, Liberal Democrats
“When I first stood as a candidate in a Borough Election, my four children were aged between one year and seven years old, I had a part time job, did some voluntary work and my friends thought I was mad! 11 years later I am asked what motivated me to stand, as we try and encourage others to step forward. There are three parts to my answer.
“First, I was fascinated by what the role would involve and excited about experiencing something new and different. It was also great fun to be part of an election campaign. My next reason was my absolute belief in democracy and my desire to show my children how it works, and that as individuals we can make a difference. I love the political debates we all have at home, as I ask their opinions on some of the issues which come up. Finally, because I have only ever lived in Reigate, I wanted to do something positive for an area I love.”
- What support will I receive from Reigate and Banstead?
Reigate & Banstead 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 borough councillors will be available to guide you in getting to know the workings of the borough council and your role within it. You will also be offered a “buddy” – an officer contact within Democratic Services to signpost you round the council for the first couple of months.
- What support is available from Reigate and Banstead for councillors with disabilities?
The Town Hall is DDA compliant. A mobile audio loop system is available. Councillors are encouraged to contact Democratic Services following their election to discuss their personal needs.
- How can I find out about training and development at Reigate and Banstead?
Please email email@example.com for further information.
- How do I find out which electoral ward I live in?
You can be a councillor 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 role 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 10 people (in the ward where you wish to stand) to sign your nomination papers.
- 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 but can occasionally occur during the day.
- Useful contacts
Be a Councillor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Political Party contact details
- Common questions about being a councillor