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Become a councillor

Next year, we will be holding the district council elections on 4 May 2023.

We have 36 councillors representing the views and interests of residents across the Chichester District. They are elected to:

  • represent their local areas; and
  • make decisions on council priorities, plans, policies and budgets.

If you would like to make a difference in your local community and represent residents, then you may want to consider becoming a councillor.

What does it involve?

All members will represent a ward which involves proactively communicating with, and signposting, residents. All members attend Full Council which takes place approximately eight times a year. There are also a number of different roles available when becoming a councillor.

You can become a member of a committee

In addition to representing your ward, you can also put yourself forward to sit on a committee. One example is the Planning Committee. This committee makes decisions on large scale planning applications, as well as those that have been referred for decision. Committees require a time commitment to read detailed reports prior the meetings.

You can scrutinise key issues and decisions

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets five times a year to scrutinise key issues and decisions. External agencies and organisations are also regularly invited to answer questions about key matters.

You can become the Leader or Deputy Leader

Councillors vote on who should become the Leader of the Council. The Leader is expected to dedicate considerable time to fulfil the role. The Leader has a major influence on the council's policies and direction. This person should expect to get involved in all aspects of the council and attend various meetings and events. The Deputy Leader provides support for the Leader and stands in for them when they are unable to attend meetings. This person is also often assigned a portfolio to represent as well.

You can become a Cabinet Member

The Leader is supported by Cabinet Members. They are selected by the Leader and are given a portfolio to focus on specific key areas. Cabinet Members are spokespeople for their areas of responsibility. They are heavily involved in the work surrounding them. This role can be quite time intensive.

You can become the Chair / Vice Chair

The Chair's role is to represent the council at ceremonial events across the district and they Chair the Full Council meetings. This role requires a significant amount of time to attend events and meetings held during the day and evening. There is also a Vice-Chair who stands in for the Chair when they are unavailable.

When and where do meetings take place?

Cabinet, Full Council, Licensing Committees (main), and Planning Committees are legally required to meet in person. However, many of our consultative committees and panels are currently held online. We have just trialled some evening meetings, and councillors will consider the council's future approach to the time and venue of meetings in November.

What happens when someone is elected?

We offer an induction programme. The programme provides you with training on the legislation, procedures, and knowledge you require to do your job. This will include several whole day training sessions. The Licensing and Planning Committees require committee members to complete essential training. A detailed induction programme will be sent to you if you decide to stand for election.

Where can I find out more?