Are you passionate about where you live and want the best for your area?
Do you want to do something worthwhile and rewarding to help your community?
Be the voice of your community by shaping and directing local services.
Stand for what you believe in. Make a difference.

As a Councillor, you will be responsible for representing your community and making decisions about the services provided.

Most candidates are nominated through a political party. However, individuals are welcome to stand as independent candidates.

Candidates must:

  • be over 18
  • be British or from the Commonwealth or the EU
  • have lived, worked or owned property in the area for at least the past 12 months

No specific qualifications or experience are required.

The next election for Torbay and Brixham Town Councillors will be held on 4 May 2023.

Whether you stand for a political party or as an independent, there are precise rules governing elections that will need your attention. For more information visit the Standing for Election page.

Any further questions about the process or to request a nomination pack please contact the Electoral Service team at  electoral.registration@torbay.gov.uk

More details can be found in the FAQs below.

Further information

Become a councillor on GOV.UK

Be a councillor on Local Government Association

Stand for what you believe in - be a councillor on Local Government Association

In September 2022, the Local Government Association published a new guide to support disabled people to become councillors, as part of its Be a Councillor campaign. The guide has been shaped with the help of disabled councillors and aims to increase the representation of disabled people in local government. ‘Improving access to local government elected office for disabled people’ is available now, alongside an ‘easy read’ version. It forms part of the LGA’s wider support for disabled councillors and candidates, including a bespoke leadership development programme and a one-to-one coaching offer for disabled councillors. Also, the LGA has also recently launched a Be a Councillor newsletter, which helps explain the steps to becoming a councillor and the support available. If you know someone who would make a great councillor, please ask them to sign up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Torbay Council and Brixham Town Council provide local services to residents and visitors to Torbay.
Torbay is split into wards and one, two or three councillors are elected to represent each ward.
As a councillor you will represent everyone in your ward – not just those that voted for you - and to serve the council as a whole. You will be a:

  • Representative, acting as a source of information or point of access to council services.
  • Community leader, developing links with all parts of the community and supporting local partnerships/organisations to campaign on local issues.
  • Policy maker, attending meetings to discuss and approve council budget and policy.
  • Scrutineer, you may become involved to act as Torbay Council’s ‘watchdog’ to review/improve services for local people and investigate issues of local concern

This page only provides an introductory guide. You should consult the latest guidance for Local Government candidates issued by the Electoral Commission and read the contents of the nomination pack to obtain greater detail.

To be able to stand as a candidate at a local government election in England you must:

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union, and meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
    1. You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the local authority area in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards.
    2. You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.
    3. Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the local authority area.
    4. You have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election.

For further details on the above qualifications, please read the Electoral Commission guidance.

A criminal records check will be carried out on you if you are elected and subsequently appointed a lead member for Children or Adults.

Disqualifications

Apart from meeting the qualifications for standing for election, you must also not be disqualified.

Note: the full range of disqualifications is complex and if you are in any doubt about whether you are disqualified, you must do everything you can to check that you are not disqualified before submitting your nomination papers.

There are certain people who are disqualified from being elected to a local authority in England.

You cannot be a candidate if at the time of your nomination and on polling day:

  1. You are employed by the local authority or hold a paid office under the authority (including joint boards or committee)
  2. You hold a politically restricted post
  3. You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  4. You are the mayor for a combined authority area that the local authority is part of. The only exception to this is where the combined authority mayoral election and the election of councillors falls on the same day. In that case, you may stand at both contests. However, if you are elected at both, a vacancy in the office of councillor will automatically arise.
  5. You have been sentenced to term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before polling day and the ordinary period allowed for making an appeal or applications in respect of the conviction has passed. A person who is in the process of making an appeal or application in relation to the conviction is not disqualified at any time before the end of the day on which the appeal or application is disposed of, abandoned or fails by reason of non-prosecution
  6. You have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices). The disqualification for an illegal practice begins from the date a person has been reported guilty by an election court or convicted and lasts for three years. The disqualification for a corrupt practice begins from the date a person has been reported guilty by an election court or convicted and lasts for five years, unless at any time within that period a court determines that the conviction should not be upheld, in which case the disqualification ends at that time
  7. You are subject to the notification requirement of or under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and the ordinary period allowed for making an appeal or application in respect of the order or notification has passed12. A disqualification set under s.81A of the Local Government Act 1972 will only apply to a person who is subject to any relevant notification requirements or relevant order made on or after 28 June 2022. A person who is in the process of making an appeal or application in relation to the disqualification is not disqualified at any time before the end of the day on which the appeal or application is disposed of, abandoned or fails by reason of non-prosecution

A person may be disqualified from being or becoming a member of certain authorities following a conviction under the Localism Act 2011

For further details on the above qualifications, please read the Electoral Commission guidance.

You do not need any formal qualifications or experience to become a councillor. The main requirement is that you want to be involved and help represent the interests of your local area. You may also have special skills or business expertise that you feel you could contribute.

Councillors should represent the whole community, so it is important people from all backgrounds are elected

How much time you put in as a councillor is largely up to you and any additional commitments you choose to take on, such as being the Chairperson of a Committee. 

There are a number of meetings which you will have to attend, and members of the public will want to discuss matters with you at the weekends or evenings on the telephone or in person.

The amount of time you need to set aside to carry out your councillor role can range from between 5 to 20 hours per week. It depends on how much you want to get involved.

Once elected you can be a councillor for a maximum of four years when the elections are held again.

No. You can choose to stand for election as an independent candidate or as a group/party political candidate.

Councillors receive an allowance, plus travel and expenses.

You can also claim carer’s allowance if you have children and/or dependents who require care whilst you are at meetings. You will also be paid extra allowances if you have additional responsibilities such as the Chairperson of a committee.  

Please note that the allowances you receive may affect any financial assistance you receive and are taxable - you should contact the agency that provides the financial assistance to find out how you may be affected.

Full details of the Council’s Allowances Scheme is available below.

Members Allowance Scheme
Details of the scheme for payment of allowances to members

Council staff will provide you with information and advice. A carefully planned induction programme will start immediately after the election so you are well prepared to start in your new role if you are successfully elected.

Further training and development will be available throughout your time as a councillor to help you develop your skills.

The Governance Support Team is a council department and is on hand to provide support with councillors’ queries, expenses etc. You will also be set up with an email address and provided with help to access to access the Council's IT network from home.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 requires your employer to allow you a reasonable amount of time off for your work as a councillor. You may need to discuss this and agree on the details with your employer. 

Successful candidates will be expected to participate in several training events in the first three months following the election.

You can also view the calendar of meetings which lists all of the public meetings scheduled for the next four years.