What does a Town Councillor Do?
Councillors represent the local community, both residents of their ward and the town as a whole. Councillors will be contacted by residents who have problems they need assistance with, and some Councillors are appointed to serve on outside bodies, such as the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership or Friends of the Moor.
Councillors work together to set the policy direction of the Town Council. Councillors attend regular meetings of the council and its committees to make decisions on a range of matters deciding what services should be delivered, where money should be spent and what policies should be implemented. Individual Councillors do not have, and cannot be given, powers to make decisions on behalf of the town council.
Who can be a Town Councillor?
Anyone aged 18 or over can stand for election (or co-option) if they meet certain qualification criteria. The first is that you are a British citizen or a citizen of either an eligible commonwealth nation or the European Union.
The second qualification criteria is your connection to Nantwich; there are four different criteria you could meet, and you only need to meet one of them to be able to stand.
- Registered Elector
You are on the electoral register for Nantwich at the time of nomination and will remain on it throughout your term of office.
- Occupied Land in Nantwich
You have occupied land or premises in Nantwich as owner/tenant for the 12 months preceding nomination (and election).
- Work in Nantwich
Your main/only place of work is in Nantwich or has been during the past 12 months – this includes voluntary work if it is the main/only work you undertake.
- Live in Nantwich
You have lived in Nantwich (or within 3 miles of the boundary) for the 12 months preceding nomination (and election).
You will be unable to be elected and to serve as a Councillor if:
- you are a paid employee of the Parish
- you are subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order
- you have within five years, before the day of the election, been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of not less than three months without the option of a fine.
How do you become a Councillor for Nantwich?
Ordinary elections are held every four years, and this is when all 12 seats on the council are up for election. Councillors serve a four-year term, and all take office four days after the election. The next ordinary elections are in May 2023.
If a vacancy arises between ordinary elections a by-election may be held for that one seat. The elected Councillor will serve the remainder of the term and retire with other Councillors at the next ordinary election.
If an insufficient number of candidates stand for an ordinary election leaving seats vacant, or a by-election is not triggered when a casual vacancy arises, the existing Councillors may vote to co-opt a Councillor to serve the term.
Standing for Election
Elections to Nantwich Town Council are run by Cheshire East Borough Council (the elections authority). Standing for election is the same for ordinary elections and by-elections and the Electoral Commission website has full resources that explain the rules in more detail. The detailed timeline for an election will be set out in the formal notices. If you are intending to stand as a candidate for a political party, you should contact the party in advance.
Just over a month before an election, a formal notice of the election will be given by Cheshire East Council. This will be published on the town council’s noticeboard and website, and we’ll promote it in the local press. The notice will give a date from which nomination papers can be submitted.
Nomination papers can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission website or may be available from the Town Council Offices. Candidates have from the day after the notice until around one month before an election to submit their nomination papers to Cheshire East Council – there is often a window of around a week between the notice and the deadline for nominations. Nomination papers must be hand delivered and completed fully. You must have a proposer and seconder. You will also need a witness to confirm you have consented to the nomination and provided your correct information. If you are standing as a party representative, they must sign to consent to your nomination.
By the day after the close of nominations, we will publish a ‘statement of persons nominated’ which lists who has stood for election and who has proposed them. This will be followed by the ‘notice of poll’ which confirms the detail of the election.
There are detailed rules on campaigning and election spending, candidates should read the guidance from the Electoral Commission.
When the votes are counted depends on what other elections are running on the same day. For ordinary elections, the count for the town council elections is usually on Saturday as the Cheshire East Council elections are counted first. For by-elections, the count is usually the night of the elections. Cheshire East Council will let candidates know when the votes will be counted, and candidates can attend the count.
Applying for Co-option
If the town council has a vacancy to fill by co-option, we will advertise it on our noticeboard, website, social media and through the local press. We will give at least two weeks’ notice and invite those wishing to be co-opted to complete an application form which sets out your eligibility and the reasons you want to be a Councillor.
The applications will then be put to a meeting of the Full Council where the Councillors will vote to determine which candidate is co-opted and becomes a Councillor.