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#MakeAChange – Become a Councillor
24 February 2023 : Council news, Community, Elections and voting
Local people are being encouraged to find out more about becoming a councillor for the new Taunton Town Council at an information event on 7 March.
The new council – the first grassroots council for Taunton in almost 50 years - will be formed on 1 April, giving residents in the county town more say in what happens locally.
Elections for 20 councillors representing 14 wards on the new council will be held on 4 May 2023.
Somerset West and Taunton Council is hosting the event from 6pm-7.30pm at Deane House, Taunton, for anyone interested in becoming a councillor, regardless of experience.
It will focus on the practicalities of being a councillor and give an opportunity for the public to discover exactly what that entails.
Newly appointed Town Clerk Donna Ford will be at the event which will also be attended by key council officers. There will be the chance to ask questions about what the role of a councillor involves and how to stand for election.
Nomination packs will be available and the process for preparing and submitting a nomination by the deadline of 4 April will be explained.
Town and parish councils are the most local tier of local government, directly elected by people in their area. They can deliver services to meet local needs and improve community well-being.
Candidates do not need qualifications to be a good councillor, just skills and experiences that best represent their local community. These could include, for example, skills gained through volunteering or working with community groups.
The launch of the new town council coincides with the unitary Somerset Council coming into being.
City, town, and parish councils will – if they wish – play a bigger part in making sure that Somerset’s services are the best they can be.
More powers will be devolved, and grass roots councils will be given the chance to take on greater responsibilities.
In Taunton, the new town council will be responsible for street care and cleaning, parks, and open spaces (excluding Vivary Park), toilets, allotments, and events including civic ceremonies. It will also be able to comment on planning applications.
The election for Taunton Town Council also coincides with the national introduction of Voter ID.
This means that for the first time people will need to show accepted photographic ID if voting in person at a polling station.
Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK, EEA or Commonwealth drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card.
Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.
Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID online at gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate or by completing a paper form.
The full list of accepted ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
Help is available for people to understand what ID is acceptable, and how to apply for free Voter ID online or get application forms, from the electoral team on 01823 358692.
Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote.
It only takes five minutes to register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.