How to become a councillor
Thank you for taking an interest in local democracy at
Dacorum Borough Council, and for exploring becoming a
Councillor. Here you can find all the information you need to
help you make your decision.
Becoming a councillor at Dacorum Borough Council
A Councillor is responsible for representing
the views of their community to the Council and acting as community
leader within their ward. Councillors strive to ensure that the
Council delivers high-quality public services which represent value
for money and are committed to continuous improvement in the
services the Council provides. Councillors are generally elected
for four year terms.
Life experience is the most important skill a
Councillor can have, therefore no formal qualifications are
required. If you are thinking of becoming a Councillor, it may be
because you want to represent the views of the community, or you
may want to improve public services. Councillors
often also have transferrable skills from employment or
Belonging to a political party
It is not necessary for you to belong to a
political party. Although the majority of potential candidates do
belong to a party, some choose to act independently.
Throughout an Election process, costs may be incurred for
publicity and running as a candidate. These costs would
be covered by a political party, unless you were an Independent
To represent a particular party at Dacorum
Borough Council, you will need to be a member of that party.
Dacorum Borough Council, Parish & Town Council's
& Hertfordshire County Council
- Dacorum Borough Council is responsible
for areas such as Housing, Rubbish and Recycling, Planning,
Licensing, running Elections and collecting Council
- Within Dacorum, there are 2 Town
Councils and 14 Parish Councils. They are made up of elected or
co-opted Councillors and may administer some local amenities such
as allotments, playing fields and village halls. They are also
asked for their opinion on planning applications or on any issue
which might have an impact on the Parish.
- If you are interested in becoming a Town or
Parish Councillor, please contact your local Clerk, details
of which can be found on the Parish and
Town Council page.
- You can also become a Hertfordshire County
Councillor. Their responsibilities include education, social
services, highways & transportation, trading standards,
libraries and fire & rescue. For further details please see the
Hertfordshire County Council Website. Details of existing County Councillors can be
found on our website.
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become a Councillor?
You can be a candidate if you
- over 18
- on the electoral
- have lived, worked or owned
property in the area for at least the past 12 months
You can become a councillor if you
- Working full time or part time
- A student
- A single parent
- Qualified at degree level
- Have no qualifications
For further details on who
can become a councillor, please see our Electoral Nominations page.
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Dacorum Borough Council covers Hemel Hempstead,
Berkhamsted and Tring.
The Council's vision is: 'Working in
Partnership, to create a Borough which enables the communities of
Dacorum to thrive and prosper'.
Dacorum Borough Council has five priority areas
to focus on:
- Building Community Capacity
- Safe and Clean Environment
- Affordable Housing
- Dacorum Delivers
There are 51 seats in Dacorum and the current
political make-up of the council is as follows:
- 43 Conservative councillors
- 1 Labour councillors
- 7 Liberal Democrat councillors
The decision making process
Full Council involves all 51 members of the
Council. It sets the annual budget and approves all
A Cabinet function has been set up by Full
Council and consists of six Portfolio Holders, whose job it is to
make decisions as to how the council runs its business.
The Council also has Overview and Scrutiny
Committees, whose role it is to monitor/scrutinise the actions of
the Cabinet and to develop Council priorities. There are also
Regulatory Committees, which look at areas such as Licensing,
Planning & Standards.
For more information see the Committee meeting pages.
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from Current Councillors
Councillor Graham Sutton
When somebody suggested to me quite a few
years ago “why don’t you stand for election as a Borough
Councillor?” my first reactions were that they were “off their
rocker!”. But then I started to think seriously about it. Why not?
I have lived in Hemel Hempstead for all but about four years of my
life. I live in the ward I was asked to represent. But, most of
all, I love Hemel Hempstead and I am proud of the 60 years plus
that I have lived here. So, after some consideration, I was proud
to put myself forward for election and let the voters decide
whether I was worthy enough to serve them as a local councillor.
The result was that, just over nine years ago, I was elected as a
Councillor and have been proud to be part of a strong and dedicated
team who look after the interests of our local residents.
But it does not stop there. I wanted to be
truly involved in the decision making process of this Borough. I
put myself forward for membership of committees and, in the nine
years I have served as a Councillor, I have been a member of most,
if not all, the committees, vice-chaired and chaired meetings and I
am also a member of both Licensing & Development Control.
Yes, a very heavy work load but one that I
took on knowing full well that I wanted to be “truly involved” and
not just “sit on the sidelines”. There are times that you “wonder
why” but overall, when I look back, I think the decision to put
myself forward was one of the best decisions of my life. I am proud
to say that, despite some pretty spectacular set-backs, the
Buncefield explosion for one, Hemel Hempstead has continued to
prosper and be a great place to live and work.
I would urge anyone who thinks that they have
something to offer, grab the opportunity, but please, please be
200% dedicated to the tasks that may lie ahead.
Councillor Maureen Flint
I have always taken a keen and active
part in my local community, I have been a youth leader, run my
own playgroup, set up an activity group
which met at a school. I have volunteered for years
and am currently volunteering for Urban Access
counselling for young people, Gadebridge Youth Club, I help at the
Junior Club, I set up Friends of Parkwood Surgery and Friends
of Highview Lodge where my mum lives.
I was asked by a former councillor to stand
for election and I had a mentor who was a long serving
Councillor at the time. This gave me an insight into what
I was letting myself in for. I was always interested in how
local government worked and young people were the main reason
I stood for election. The areas I am most interested in are Social,
Housing, Voluntary Sector, Sports and Leisure. I have spent 18
years mainly on those committees, and have
managed to steer clear of the Planning
If you didn't want to stand for a political
party, you could stand as an Independent candidate but
that wasn't for me. I like the support the party gives and I also
like to shape our policies. A fellow Councillor once said to
me, if you're not in it to make a difference, don't stand!
I hope my ward feel I make a difference for them.
I was a Councillor between 1991 and 2007, when
I lost my seat by 27 votes. I vowed that I wouldn't stand
again but I missed my ward, so stood again and was re-elected in
2011. I like meeting people and I have a small ward where
I live and work. I get phone calls and I offer to go and
visit as I can walk to all areas of my ward. I have
served in opposition twice, in a hung council and in overall
control. Over the years my role has included being Chair
of the Community and Leisure Committee, and Mayor in 1998/99. You
can give as little as an hour or two a week, or it can be like a
full time job.
Being a councillor is a rewarding activity and
I have spent 18 years giving it my best. If you find
yourself getting involved in issues and want to make a difference
in your local community, getting into Local Government is a natural
step to take.
Councillor Lloyd Harris
I didn't get into politics to keep everything
the same, that is why I do all this work as a Councillor and
political party volunteer. My work as a Councillor basically
falls into two roles - representative and political.
My representation role includes helping people
with their problems, listening to their views and passing on their
opinions to the Borough Council (whether I agree with them or
The political side relates to attendance at
Council committees and full council meetings. Here I can pass on
views gained from listening to residents and the knowledge &
opinions acquired from life, to try and influence the decisions the
Being a Councillor is very rewarding, however,
all rewarding jobs also come with days of frustration. I have been
lucky to serve on two different types of council. I served two full
terms on a Town council where I chaired committees with
responsibilities for services within the Town. I stood down in 2011
to concentrate on my work as a Councillor on Dacorum Borough
It is a shame that not everywhere in Dacorum
has a Town or Parish council, Hemel Hempstead (with the exception
of Nash Mills), for example, is without one. Small councils like
these are more in touch with their communities than larger councils
like the Borough Council and County Council, and as such are
effective community voices. However they have limited
responsibilities, while the larger councils have more duties.
So why should you become a Councillor?
Reasons vary from person to person, however if it is power and
money you are after you are looking at the wrong job. I have yet to
meet a Councillor at Dacorum whose sole motivation in going
for election is power and control. Almost all put themselves
forward to make a difference, be it to help residents, stop
something happening, change something for the better or a
combination of all three.
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of a Councillor
The role of a Councillor is varied and takes
many forms of responsibility - community leader, individual ward
councillors and Full Council. Dacorum's electorate
is roughly 110,000 which is divided into 25 wards. Each ward,
dependent on its size is represented by either one, two or
Member Role Descriptions are set out in Part 2
of the Council's Constitution as agreed
by Full Council.
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The way councillors behave is governed by the
Code of Conduct for
Councillors. This sets out the rules to which
councillors have to adhere to.
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The time spent on Council duties depends on the
level of duties taken on.
can be spent on:
- Answering local residents queries
- Communication with local residents
- Drop-in surgeries held in the ward
- Responding to press enquiries, with assistance
- Meetings with council officers re: Constituent
- Attending council committee meetings - in the
daytime or in the evening
- Attending meetings of outside bodies
- Attending group meetings
- Reading information for meetings
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Support you will receive
Member Support is a dedicated team to help meet
the needs of all Councillors. You will also have a group
secretary to support you in your role and you will have access to a
group room which includes a telephone and a computer.
All newly elected Councillors will be offered a mentor, an
experienced Councillor, to offer guidance and advice on the varied
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All new Councillors will go through an induction programme.
This includes welcome sessions, an introduction
to the Council's structure, an insight into what will be
involved over the term as well as mandatory training
topics. After this an annual training programme is provided
which is shaped by Councillors.
Each Councillor will complete a self assessment
checklist which will help identify areas for
development. Following this, all councillors are offered a
one-to-one session to develop a personal development plan, which
will be reviewed regularly.
An annual target for the amount of development sessions each
Councillor is to attend, is set as part of the annual Performance
Councillors do not receive a salary but do
receive a Members Allowance to reimburse
them for time and expenses for Council business.
You will be provided with a Council laptop for
use while carrying out Council business.
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Equality & Diversity
The key purpose of Equality is to ensure
that everyone is treated fairly. Diversity is about valuing
Dacorum Borough Council has a number of legal
obligations to meet in relation to Equality
and Diversity. Alongside these legal obligations, the Council
wants to serve the whole of the community by
encouraging best practice in relation to equal opportunity.
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steps to becoming a Councillor
If you are interested in becoming a Councillor,
the process to follow can be found on the Electoral Nominations page.
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Manager - Democracy- 01442 228222
Electoral Registration - 01442 228071
Main Switchboard - 01442 228000
Alternatively you can email: Elect-Reg@dacorum.gov.uk or
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