Want to be a Councillor but wonder if you’ll fit in? You will—and help is at hand
Does the make-up of our RBWM Council represent our Community?
We can all see that it doesn’t, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The Council is making decisions that will affect our Community for decades to come. How can those decisions possibly lead to a better Borough when they are so disconnected from those who live and work here?
Many across the Borough have watched the actions of this Council in horror as its half-baked vision of change is ploughed through step by step with barely the veneer of democratic process. Some have thought about being agents of change by running for the Council themselves, but wonder whether it’s something they can do.
As we speak with prospective candidates, many questions arise:
We’ve been told by some that they just don’t like what goes at Council meetings, the ADVERSARIAL and BULLYING culture. We at tBf will change that as a key tBf value is that of COLLABORATION. We will work TOGETHER with Councillors from all Parties seeking to reach the best decision for the Community, rather than point scoring. We will show RESPECT to all by ensuring that views are heard, acknowledged and considered.
Another barrier is TIME. An average of eight hours per week minimum is required to fulfil Councillor duties in a responsible and diligent manner. Some employers, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility give employees paid time off for public duties. So it’s always worth asking. Other employers are prepared to give unpaid time off. If you take one day off, your allowances (see below) may cover any drop in salary.
Many potential candidates wonder whether they can afford to run for office or serve as a Councillor. However, it’s more financially doable than many realise—and help is available.
Central government, acknowledging that there are additional expenses for those with disabilities, has a fund to help with campaign expenses, such as transport, screen reader software, interpreters, transcription of material into braille The average claim is around £4 000. More information on this fund can be found here:
Once elected all councillors can claim a series of allowances. They are also provided with an iPad to be used for council business to ensure that they are able to access their emails and information they will need in their role.
Each Councillor is entitled to claim a basic allowance of around £8,000 per year.
SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWANCES:
Special Responsibility allowances for things like chairing committees or serving on cabinet are available recognising that such councillors are unlikely to be able to combine this with full time employment.
DEPENDENT CARERS ALLOWANCE:
This covers costs associated with childcare and other dependents, such as elderly parents.
All reasonable travel expenses are claimable.
Each councillor is also allocated £750 per year to spend on anything they see fit, within reason of course, such as a local charity for work they’re doing in the community.
Being a Councillor is more accessible than you might think—and we’d love to hear from you.
To find out more, contact ‘the Borough first’ on: www.theboroughfirst.org.
Helen Price is a Windsor resident and a tBf candidate for the Clewer & Dedworth East Ward.
Published and Promoted by Charles Hollingsworth on behalf of “the BOROUGH first“, both of PO BOX 4919, Maidenhead, SL60 1LS