Becoming a Councillor

Role of a Councillor

West Moors Council did not have enough candidates to trigger contested elections and therefore the council is elected unopposed.

Our Councillors share similar and different beliefs which helps to achieve common goals and diversity within the Council:

Our Councillors believe some of our main objectives should be;

"Supporting the local community in matters relating to local government at Town and Dorset level – where action is needed, planning applications, information, advice".


“Stay fiscally prudent, don’t waste other people’s money but do give residents a place they can be proud of, and happy in”.

Another feels one should be..
"Reduce Reserves to the lowest level required by law so that the public know we are not over taxing them. Be accountable, expect quality & value for the tax-payer".

And another feels we should…

Preserve the overall character of West Moors in terms of environment and development”.

Our Councillors feel the residents should know about;

“Council priorities, value for their money (facilities, service, responsibilities) and have. access to the council.”

“We are here to serve. We have well qualified & knowledgeable Staff & Councillors.  We represent the interests of the whole community. We make difficult decisions in an open & reasoned unbiased way".

“That we are here to help, all people have to do is contact us.”

When asked “would you recommend being a Councillor if you were asked”, there were some wonderful responses;

One says;
“Joining a group of people all working for the good of the community – sharing views and expertise and acting on issues and opportunities".

Another two say,

“Most definitely”. I like networking with people in all walks of like to hear their views, this helps formulate council policies and you get to meet a wide range of passionate people who care”.

“Yes definitely, I applied to be a Councillor because I wanted West Moors to stay as a pleasant, friendly village without too much outside interference. I thought the best way to do this was to be a part of the decision-making rather than claim dissatisfaction afterwards"
Role of a Councillor

Local people become Councillors for many different reasons, but mainly because they feel strongly about the area in which they live or work and they want to make a difference.

By representing the views of local people, as a community advocate, they can ensure that local community interests are listened to.
At Full council meetings they adopt/resolve specific decisions that were recommended in committee meetings.


 All Councillors are expected to represent and champion the interests of the community, businesses and residents in their town/parish.

The Town Council supplements the provision of Dorset Council services in West Moors and provides a range of facilities and services, while promoting and representing the town with other national and statutory bodies. For example, the Town Council acts as a consultee and lobbying force with Dorset Council putting forward the wishes and needs of the local community.

Networking and communicating

Councillors act as a communication channel between the council and its electorate. They promote their interests and needs to the council and assist the public to better understand the issues being addressed by the Town Council, Dorset Council and local government and the services it provides.

Councillors may also be nominated by the council to serve a wide range of organisations such as community groups and charities, or to represent the council on local outside bodies.

Decision making as a democratic representative

Councillors are responsible for the democratic decision-making at West Moors Town Council.

Councillors oversee the successful, lawful and effective management of the council’s public resources and delivery of public services in the best interests of the local community and council taxpayers.

Councillors are not expected to attend all the committees held by the council, just those that they serve on and any meetings of full council.

The committee and governance arrangements are detailed in the Councils Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

All councillors are expected to abide by the Town Councils Code of Conduct. Each local council must adopt and publicise a Code of Conduct. The Code deals with Councillors obligations about their conduct, including the registration and disclosure of their interests. Complaints about councillors’ conduct are dealt with by the principal authority.

Councillors have to sign a declaration stating they will observe the council’s code of conduct.  They must declare certain financial and other interests which they may have, and cannot take part in decisions if they have any related financial interests.


For further information about the Council and Standing for Election, please contact:

Judi Weedon
Town Clerk
Telephone 01202 861044

Other useful websites



Criteria for Becoming a Councillor

Skills and knowledge

Anyone can become a councillor. You do not need any qualifications. Councillors come from all sorts of backgrounds and, if anything, life experience is the most important attribute you can bring to the role.
The knowledge and experience you would have gained through your personal and professional life are important skills to bring to the councillor role.

You can stand for election as a West Moors Councillor if:

  • you are 18 or older on the day of nomination.
  • registered to vote in the area, or if you live, work or own property in the area.
  • you are a UK, Commonwealth or European Union citizen.
  • you are not a Council employee. 

Please note that West Moors has always operated as a non-political council.

How do I get elected?

The Election procedure:

Ordinary elections of local councillors take place on the first Thursday in May every four or five years. You are elected for the entire term (until the next ordinary election) unless you resign.

The next ordinary Town Council election will be held in May 2024.

Please note that there are 12 seats on West Moors Council and if only 12 or less candidates stand for election they are elected as unopposed.

You can also become a Councillor at a by-election or can be co-opted to fill a casual vacancy during the course of the 4- or 5-year term, you would then hold office until the end of the term, unless you resign from the post.

A few terms that you may encounter:

▪ Returning Officer – person empowered to run an election.

▪ Standing – Putting your name forward for election.
▪ Electoral Register – Names and addresses, together with election identification numbers of all people within a community who are registered to vote.
▪ Election Timetable – dates when specific forms must be publicised or submitted.
▪ Expenses – If you do produce your own leaflets/pamphlets you need to declare how much you have spent on this.
▪ Ensure that all addresses are in full with no abbreviations
▪ Include the whole Electoral Register references letters and numbers
▪ Be careful not to miss important dates
▪ Further information online at

Publication of the Notice of Election:

Notices about an upcoming election will be available on the Council website and distributed to Parish and Town clerks for them to display.

Getting the nomination forms:

Nomination forms will be available to download from the West Moors Town Council website and from the Dorset Council website

Completing the nomination forms:

You will need to fill in all your personal details and those of the people nominating you. You and those nominating will be asked to fill in your Electoral Register number. This is the district code on the front of the Electoral Register. This is followed by the number that appears next to your name, or next to the name of the person nominating you. The entry in this box will therefore read something like ‘WM 413’.

You must get your form completed and signed by those nominating you and it will help to copy the numbers of those nominating you when you obtain your own Electoral Register number which will be available on request from the Town Council.

Sending the nomination forms back:

It is imperative that you submit your forms in accordance with the Timetable of Proceedings. Failure to do so will render your application null and void.


▪ Do not forget to get everyone mentioned to sign the forms


Town and Parish Councils are permitted to exercise the power to co-opt a person onto the Council to fill a casual vacancy when the requirements to hold an election have not been met (i.e. the vacancy has been the subject of a public notice and less than 10 registered electors have requested an election by a deadline date specified by the Dorset Council Returning Officer).

Whenever the need for co-option arises, West Moors Town Council will seek and encourage applications from anyone in the town who is eligible to stand as a town councillor. Councillors or parishioners can legally approach individuals to suggest that they might wish to consider putting their names forward for co-option

The notice to co-opt will include: the method by which applications can be made; the closing date for all applications; a contact point to obtain more information and where information can be sourced electronically.

Casual Vacancies Protocol (Adopted: 24.09.09, reviewed: Sep 2016)         


What will my boss say?

Your Rights
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 the details with your employer.

Many employers recognise that the skills people develop as councillors are very useful in the workplace.

How much time do I have to commit?

What is involved?
Being a West Moors Town Councillor will require a time commitment to address residents’ concerns, reply to communications and to attend meetings.

▪ attendance at local meetings
▪ reading committee agendas and documents before the meeting
▪ attending working group meetings
▪ engaging with learning and development opportunities

The time you devote to the role will depend on the commitments and roles you take on as a councillor, and the number of hours can vary, depending on how involved you are.

Meetings and Committees

Meetings of the Full Council and committees are held in the Council Chamber (Pavilion) at Fryer Field, commencing at 7.30pm, unless the Council decides otherwise, and always on a Thursday.
A calendar of meetings are presented to Full Council for approval prior to the start of each Council Year.

Finance General Purposes Committee meetings – 6 to 7 a year.
Planning Consultative Committee meetings – every 3 to 4 weeks.

Environment committee meeting – 8 to 9 a year.
Full Council
– Last Thursday of each month.

The Town Assembly Meeting is usually held in mid-April on a Thursday evening in St. Anthony’s Church Hall, commencing at 7pm, when there is normally a Guest Speaker and Good Citizen Award presentations.

The Statutory Annual Council Meeting is held in May.

In an election year this meeting must be held within 14 days of the election.

The term of office for representatives of the council on outside bodies is normally for a period of one year commencing from the Annual Council Meeting in May.

Committee memberships

Membership of each Committee is agreed at the first meeting of the Council in May.

Will I get paid?


West Moors Councillors do not receive any form of payment for their services.

If you have a position of responsibility, like the Chair of the Council, you will receive a small allowance. This allowance is designed to cover expenses you may incur as a Chairperson such as when attending Civic events.

As a Councillor, you can claim for travel and subsistence expenses for ‘approved duties’, for example attending training, outside body meetings etc.


Will I receive training?

Support and development

Once you become a Councillor, you will be provided with a New Councillor pack containing the following; 

1.       Calendar of meetings
2.       Councillor List
3.       Committee membership list
4.       Code of Conduct
5.       Standing Orders
6.       Financial Regulations
7.       Terms of Reference
8.       Social Media Policy
9.       Good Councillor Guide
10.     Budget, Earmarked Funds and Reserves
11.     Staff Members and their responsibilities
12.     Internal Protocol on member/officer relations
13.     Climate and Biodiversity Action Plan
14.     Saturday Opening Office Rota
15.     Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils Information
17.     Agenda Item Request Form
18.     Travel Expenses Claim Form

New Councillor Induction training is provided by the Dorset Association of Parish and Town Councils and West Moors Council insist that new councillors attend this training session to ensure you are well prepared to start in your new role if you are elected.

The Council was proud to have been presented with a TRIPLE STAR AWARD from DAPTC for Councillor Training on 7th March, 2024.
This is a tangible sign of West Moors Town Council’s commitment to seeking out new opportunities and keeping up to date with changes in legislation and practice, which benefits the whole community.
Triple Star = Over 90% of Councillors attended recognised training


Local Councillors have a wealth of experience and local knowledge which can be shared with other Councillors. Through the DAPTC Awards scheme, the number of councillors from each Parish or Town Council that further their development by attending its range of courses, conferences, seminars and update events each year, will be publicly recognised and congratulated with a STAR AWARD CERTIFICATE, if the relevant criteria is met. (For more information:



Can I specialise in an area of interest?

Preferred Topics and Passions
As a Councillor, residents will look to you to have a wide-ranging knowledge of the Council, something we will help and support you in achieving, but there are also opportunities for you to develop specialisations on topics which interest you.


You can become a member of a Committee that is more suited to your areas of interest, and the Council is asked to appoint Councillors to outside bodies as well as local organisations, countywide groups or even regional bodies.