Become a councillor

Councillors, also known as Members of the Council, are elected by the local community to represent their views and have responsibility for how services are provided in the city council area.  

Getting elected

To become a local councillor you need to be at least 18 years old and a British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen.

You also need to be able to satisfy one or more of these requirements:

  • you are registered to vote in the area
  • you have rented or owned land or premises in the area for the whole of the last 12 months
  • you have had your main job in the area during the last 12 months
  • you have lived in the area for the whole of the last 12 months

You cannot stand for election if:

  • you work for the council
  • you work for another council or public body (fire service for example) in a politically restricted post
  • you are an un-discharged bankrupt
  • you have been found guilty of a corrupt or illegal practise by an election court in the last five years
  • you have been found guilty of an offence and sentenced to three or more months in prison, including suspended.

You must seek your own legal advice as to your eligibility to stand as a candidate. 

Political status

You can stand as an independent or be adopted and nominated by a political party which have their own selection processes and may provide support with canvassing and financial costs.

What do councillors do?

Councillors provide an important link between members of the public and the council, holding surgeries to help local people, supporting local organisations, campaigning on local issues and developing links with all parts of the community.

Elected councillors provide the policies which are then put into practice by paid employees (council officers).

The council sets a framework and budget within which decisions must be taken and most decision-making rests with the Cabinet.

Newport City Council has a structure of scrutiny committees which help to inform decision-making and scrutinise the work of the Cabinet.

Most councillors sit on one or more of the scrutiny committees or planning and licensing committees. 

Watch a councillor's guide to the role of the Public Ombudsman for Wales

Time commitment

A full council meeting is held each month apart from August and councillors are requested to attend the meetings of any committees, forums or other groups of which they are a member.

Councillors may also be asked to represent the council on outside bodies.

A significant amount of time will be spent on issues raised by ward residents.

Some employers support their employees in being councillors and allow reasonable time off - you should always discuss this with your employer before standing as a councillor.

Allowances

Councillors are not council employees but are entitled to allowances and expenses to cover some of the costs of carrying out public duties.

Councillors receive a basic allowance and those holding certain positions (for example, a cabinet member or chair of a scrutiny committee) receive an additional allowance to reflect the extra workload and commitments involved.

Download the schedule of member remuneration 2014/2015 (pdf)

Download the schedule of member remuneration 2015/2016 (pdf)

Information about payments to councillors from the Welsh Government

Support

There is an induction programme to introduce elected councillors to the business of the council and continual training in specific skills and roles throughout the term of office.

Councillors are provided with the use of a personal computer connected to the council's network and email system.

Council officers will give advice about council procedures or problems in your ward but cannot help with any activity that may be seen as assisting a political party or in any private or personal capacity.

Each new councillor is assigned an officer as a first point of contact after the election to help to make the first few months as smooth as possible.

Term of office

Councillors remain a Member of the Council until retirement or the loss of the seat during a subsequent election.

Councillors serve a four-year term in between elections.

There are circumstances that could lead to disqualification or suspension which are explained during the induction programme.

Contact

For further information contact the electoral registration manager at Newport City Council