Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about councillors:
Q1. How many councillors does Banbridge District Council have in total and how can I find out which councillor represents my area?
A1. Banbridge District Council has 17 councillors elected to represent the local Banbridge community. These 17 councillors represent the communities living in the three District Electoral Areas of Banbridge Town, Dromore and Knockiveagh. Find out which councillors represent your area by selecting the 'Councillors' link under 'Related Pages' on the right-hand side of this page.
Q2. What is the role and responsibilities of a councillor?
A2. A Councillorís role is varied and collectively within each council, the councillors decide what is in the public interest amidst a range of conflicting issues and views. Their range of duties include:-
- Attending full council and other council committee meetings to effectively represent the interest of the people of their District Electoral Area and/or council area
- Ensuring that council policy is implemented and carried out fairly
- Participating in the activities of outside bodies to which they are appointed by the council eg housing, education and health boards, and providing two-way communication to council as required
- Being available for constituents to raise enquiries and issues of importance, taking action fairly and without prejudice
- Developing a working knowledge of the organisations, services, activities etc important to the communityís well-being and identity
- Actively encouraging community participation in decision-making
- Ensuring that local people are informed about services in their area, their rights as constituents, council decisions that affect them and the reasons behind such decisions
- Meeting regularly with key stakeholders and supporting local partnerships and organisations
- Helping to decide council service priorities, agreeing and setting budgets and determining which rate is to be struck
Q3. How often do councillors meet and what do they discuss?
A3. The number of meetings attended by each councillor depends upon the number of committees on which they have been elected to serve. Information about committee membership is available in the 'Council Information' section.
Q4. Can anyone become a councillor? What is the process of applying to become a councillor?
A4. Council elections are held every 4 years and the last elections were in May 2005. A notice is placed in the local press approximately 6 weeks before the date of the elections inviting nominations. Forms for nominations can be obtained on specified dates from the council offices. Further details can be obtained from the Council's Member Services Section.
Q5. How are councillors selected to sit on a particular committee?
A5. Each year the Council holds its Annual Meeting (usually in June) during which committees for the ensuing year are selected with each Councillor serving on 3 out of 4 of the standing committees. Membership of all other Council committees and outside bodies are decided using the proportionality method i.e. membership is based on the number of seats held by each political party serving on the Council.
Q6. What is the current political composition of Banbridge District Council?
A6. At the last local government elections held in May 2005, the party which won the most seats were the DUP (7 seats), followed by the UUP (5 Seats) and the SDLP (3 seats). Sinn Féin won 1 seat for the first time ever and Alliance kept its one seat.
Q7. How long does the role of councillor last?
A7. Councillors are elected for a 4-year term i.e. the length of a council term. At the end of this term, the councillor can stand to be re-elected at the next local government elections. Some councillors have served the Banbridge community for more than 20 years.
Q8. Can the Council Chairman attend an event I am organising?
A8. Yes. You can write to the Chairman at the Civic Building or alternatively you can contact his secretary on 028 4066 0602 to request his attendance at an event. Please include all details of your event in your correspondence.
Q9. What are local councillors doing to engage with young people in the Banbridge District?
A9. Each year the Council supports Local Democracy Week and organises and event aimed primarily at encouraging young people to engage meaningfully with their local elected representatives on a wide range of issues affecting their lives.
Q10. Which organisation should I contact if I want to find out about local elections, general elections and European elections?
A10. You should contact your local Electoral Office on 028 9044 6688.
Q11. I will be unable to get to the polling station to cast my vote. What should I do?
A11. You should apply for an 'absent voting form'. However it is only in certain circumstances that this form can be issued and there is a cut off date for applications. You should contact your local Electoral Office.
Q12. How can I submit or ask a question about councillors or elections?
A12. You can submit a question by selecting the 'Contact Us' link in the left hand navigation listing. Alternatively, you can contact the Council's Member Services Section on 028 4066 0602.