The Role of a Councillor

Information for Prospective Town Councillors

Gillingham Town Council is the parish authority for Gillingham Town and in 2012 had an estimated population of 11,871 and 5368 dwellings. The Town Council comprises of 17 Councillors who are elected for a 4 year term. The next ordinary Town Council election will be held in May 2019. Councillors who are elected at a subsequent by-election or are co-opted to fill a casual vacancy during the course of the 4 year term will hold office until the end of the 4 year term.

Gillingham is the most northerly town in Dorset and in the last twenty years, has grown particularly rapidly and been successful in attracting a variety of new industries. This is partly due to it’s accessibility to the A303 trunk road, which is only four miles away and the town’s railway station on the Exeter to London line.

Town Councils are the fourth tier of government after parliament, the County Council and the District Council and its legal powers are granted to it and regulated by various government acts. The Town Council supplements the provision of local government services in Gillingham 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 both the County and District Council putting forward the wishes and needs of the local community.

The Civic Year begins in May and the election of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor is held in March of each year. At the Annual Council Meeting the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Elect officially take office. The four committees are agreed and each committee vote for their Chairmen and Deputy Chairman.

Meetings & Committees

Meetings of the Full Council and committees are held in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall, commencing at 7.30pm, unless the Council decides otherwise. . Printed calendar of meetings are presented to Full Council for approval prior to the start of each Council Year.

The Town Assembly Meeting is held on the last Wednesday in April in the Council Chamber commencing at 7.30pm.

The Statutory Annual Council Meeting is held on the last Monday in May except for the first meeting of the new Four Year Council Term when it will be the first meeting following the Local Council elections.

Representatives to Community and Local Organisations

Gillingham Town Council appoints Councillors to act as representatives to organisations and groups within the town. Representatives are normally agreed at the request of a particular group/organisation. Councillors’ involvement as representatives in the local community develops the Council’s greater understanding of the role of these organisations and groups.

The term of office for representatives is normally for a period of one year commencing from the Annual Council Meeting in May. Town Council representatives are expected to regularly attend meetings of the organisation they represent and take an active part in its operations and report back to the committee at an as or when basis.

Working Groups

Membership of Working Groups is agreed at the first meeting of the relevant committees. They will have been set a terms of reference by the parent committee.

Civic Events

Councillors are invited to attend various civic occasions throughout the civic year ranging from the Mayor Making Ceremony in May to the Remembrance Day Parade and the Annual Carol Service.

Town Council Staff

The Town Council’s executive officer is the Town Clerk Mrs Julie Hawkins who oversees a team of 12 staff.

The Works Manager leads a team of 7 grounds staff and 1 street orderly while the office staff provide the financial, administrative, committee and full council support services plus the public reception, room booking service and the administrative support for the mayoral role and civic events.