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Become a Councillor

Be a Councillor. Be the Change.

  • Do you care passionately about Merthyr Tydfil? 
  • Are you ready to make a change?
  • Why not stand for what you believe in and become a local councillor?

If you are interested in standing for office for 2022 you’ll need to start preparing now! Check out the FAQ’s page for more information.

Who can become a Councillor?

Almost anyone can become a councillor as there are no formal qualifications required, provided you meet the criteria below you could become the next councillor for your ward. It's important that councillors are like the people who elected them to represent different views within the community and take decisions that benefit everybody. Wales needs more Women, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, and young people to stand for elections, to honour our pledge to become a diverse council we encourage you to be the change.

All candidates must be;

  • Over 18.
  • A UK, EU or Commonwealth Citizen.
  • Registered to vote or have lived, worked or owned property in Merthyr Tydfil at least 12 months prior to the election in May 2022. 

 

What is the role of a councillor?

Councillors are elected to represent their local community in the running of their local council. Councillors help to decide how local services are provided, funded and prioritised by working with the employees of the council to ensure that services are relevant and delivered effectively. As a councillor you’ll be expected to; 

  • Engage with your local community: As a councillor, you’ll need to understand the needs of your community and provide those who may otherwise be underrepresented with a voice. This can be by opening conversations on social media, having a chat in the high-street or holding a surgery to undertake casework.

  • Undertake Casework: This might be resolving a local problem or putting people in touch with the council or other organisations that can help.

  • Behave Appropriately: The public needs to feel confident that you are living up to the high standards that they have a right to expect from you. Councillors are bound by a statutory Code of Conduct. This code applies to councillors whenever they are acting or appear to be acting as a councillor.

  • Take decisions in the Council.

  • Attend Council Meetings: There are a number of meetings you’ll be required to attend as a councillor including;

Council: All councillors debate and decide upon policy based on reports provided by committees.

Cabinet: A small number of senior councillors led by the leader of the council who take on decisions regarding the day to day running of the council. Typically, each member is responsible for a specific area known as their portfolio, for example, education.

Overview and Scrutiny: All other councillors are active in the overview and scrutiny of the performance of the council and other public bodies whose work affects local communities.

Regulatory Committees: Many councillors also sit on committees which deal with planning and licensing. This means that you could be making decisions about buildings and local development or taxis and pubs across the council area.

Other Committees - Some councillors may also be members of other committees, such as the governance and audit committee who ensure that the financial policies and processes of the Council are in order or the standards committee which makes sure that members behave appropriately or ad hoc committees such as those formed to appoint new staff.

Other Local Bodies - Councillors are also appointed to external local bodies such as school governing bodies and local partnerships, either as representatives of the council or as trustees or directors. Some councillors also sit on fire and rescue authorities and national park authorities. Where a councillor is a member of a political party they will also be expected to attend political group meetings, party training and other events.

 

What support is available?

 

Learning

The people who elect you will have high expectations of their local councillor from the first day of their term so as a council we’ll be there to support you from day one. It can take a while to understand what the council does and your role within it. There are laws, rules, policies and procedures to get to grips with. We understand that this can be daunting and offer an orientation and induction programme for new members to familiarise themselves with their role, council procedures and fellow councillors. Ongoing training will be provided according to your needs including IT support, how to chair a meeting or even take part in a radio interview. 

Click here for an E-Learning experience provided by the Welsh Local Government Authority to help you get started. 

 

Salary & Financial Support

Every councillor is entitled to receive a basic salary in return for the commitment and contribution they make. You are also entitled to claim your salary whilst taking family absence such as parental leave. Councillors also have access to the local government pension scheme.

Councillors who undertake additional responsibilities such as being a cabinet member, committee chair or leader of their political group will receive an additional payment known as a senior salary that is calculated based on the size of the council.

 

Additional Support

Councillors with young families, caring responsibilities or personal support needs are entitled to additional financial support as well as flexible working arrangements. Councillors are entitled to a contribution towards the cost of care for those they care for, or for their own personal support. In addition, councillors are entitled to paid “family absence” arrangements around maternity, paternity and adoptive parental leave as well as paid “sickness absence”. In an effort to become a more inclusive council the law shall be changing to grant councillors further support and flexibility. 

Once every term councillors are surveyed to determine the most convenient meeting times however, there can be clashes as different councillors have different preferences and commitments. However, there is often scope to be flexible around some informal meetings and all council meetings can now be undertaken remotely as councillors are provided with the relevant IT equipment to attend meetings from home.