Delivering the new Buckinghamshire Council
When the new council becomes operational on 1 April this year, all the current district and county councillors will move over to the new authority. They will be replaced by a new group of 147 councillors when the local elections take place.
Due to the Government’s announcement to postpone the 7 May 2020 elections these will now take place on 6 May 2021.
If you are interested in being a councillor for the new Buckinghamshire Council please take a look at the guide below.
A draft calendar of meetings for Buckinghamshire Council from May 2020 to May 2021 is available. The meeting schedule will be confirmed at the full meeting of the Shadow Authority on 27 February 2020.
You can go jump straight to a particular section by clicking on the links:
This information can also be downloaded as a PDF document.
Representing local people
Councillors are community leaders who are chosen to represent local people. They need to:
- understand people’s priorities and concerns and what matters to them
- help local voices and local views be heard by the council
- speak up for the people they represent
- be in touch with residents and local community groups on a wide range of different issues
Councillors connect the community with the council and are the key part of a two way conversation between local people and the local authority. They need to listen to residents and be able to speak up for them. They also need to share important information and help keep local people informed about the issues and decisions that affect them.
Shaping the future
Local councillors help shape the future of their local area in all kinds of ways, such as:
- contributing to policies and strategies
- taking decisions or giving input to planning decisions
- setting and spending the council’s budget
- scrutinising council decisions
- taking decisions on licensing applications
Good local councillors build strong and effective relationships with their local community. They encourage local people to make their views known and help the council to work with their residents and they speak up to support their local residents.
As a local councillor, residents will expect you to:
- respond to their queries and investigate their concerns (casework)
- communicate council decisions that affect them
- know your patch and be aware of any problems
- know and work with representatives of local organisations, interest groups and businesses
- represent their views at council meetings
- lead local campaigns on their behalf
Working in Partnership
Community leadership is at the heart of modern local government. Councils work with a wide range of other services and agencies, including the voluntary and community sector, to improve services and the quality of life of residents.
It is planned that Buckinghamshire Council will operate Community Boards to enable it to maintain strong connections with communities, understand and respond to local need and improve outcomes for residents. The boards will aim to enable councillors to take decision on local issues alongside key partners including community representatives, facilitate communities to come together with councillors and partners to find local solutions to local issues and provide feedback on local public sector performance and delivery in the area.
Who can be a councillor?
Anyone can put themselves forward to be a councillor in the new Buckinghamshire Council. You must:
- be over the age of 18
- be British or an eligible citizen of the Commonwealth or a citizen of any member state of the European Union
- have a local connection to Buckinghamshire
There are a few restrictions, but the relevant Deputy Returning Officer will be able to help you. Further information on standing for election is available from the Electoral Commission via the following link: www.electoralcommission.org.uk.
To stand for election as a councillor you will need to be nominated as a candidate by submitting a completed set of nomination papers to the relevant Deputy Returning Officer. The contact details for the Deputy Returning Officer are provided below:
King George V House
King George V Road
Queen Victoria Road
Buckinghamshire Council will support you as a councillor in many ways. This will include:
- a programme of induction training & knowledge sessions for new councillors
- regular briefings and ongoing training for all councillors on key issues throughout the year
- professional, impartial advice and support from council officers
- ICT equipment and support to enable you to work effectively remotely and digitally
How the council works
Councillors have a central part to play in making decisions that impact on their ward and across the whole area covered by Buckinghamshire Council. They will be involved in decision-making through:
- full council
- regulatory committees such as Planning and Licensing
- appointments to outside bodies (external organisations)
- developing, monitoring and reviewing policy on Overview and Scrutiny Committees
- providing advice and guidance to Cabinet Member at advisory groups or informal meetings
- elect a leader
- establish the Council’s committees
- make appointments to the committees
- set the policy framework for Buckinghamshire Council
- agreeing the budget and spending plans
- make constitutional decisions
- debate major issues affecting Buckinghamshire Council and its local area.
There’s more information and profiles of some councillors on the Be A Councillor website.
The Councillors’ Guide produced by the LGA, is a very useful reference document for all new councillors and those thinking about becoming a councillor in the future.
Additional information and guidance for councillors can be found on the Local Government Association website which is updated daily.