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Election / Help at hand for folk considering standing in council election

A handbook has been devised to offer an insight into life as a councillor in Shetland

Lerwick Town Hall. Photo: SIC.

A NEW handbook has been created for anyone thinking of standing in the next council elections.

A number of current elected members have also shared their thoughts on the role, touching on the key skills required for the job and also some of the challenges involved.

The next elections will take place in May 2022, and as is often the way, there is understood to be a number of current councillors who are thinking of hanging up their boots.

The handbook aims to give people advice on what a councillor does, the role of the local authority and what elections are like.

It includes interviews with current councillors Emma Macdonald, Steven Coutts, Malcolm Bell, George Smith, Moraig Lyall and Alastair Cooper.

Convener Malcolm Bell said: “You don’t have to be an accomplished orator or know local authority legislation inside out to stand for election – but you do need to be committed to playing your part to improving life in Shetland.

“This handbook is a useful resource for people thinking to stand at next year’s election, and we’re pleased to make this available.

“My colleagues and I are more than happy to talk with anyone who might be interested in taking on this rewarding role.

“It’s a time of great change – at the global, national and local levels – and now, more than ever, we need the council to reflect the whole community, in all its diversity.

“The more candidates who put themselves forward, the better our local democracy.”

Shetland has 22 councillors across seven wards, and all are independent apart from Robbie McGregor, who represents the SNP.

Council business is conducted through a number of committees, and one of the main tasks of elected members is to attend regular meetings.

Renumeration for councillors is currently set at a national rate of £17,853.96 per year.

The next council term will last for five years, running through to 2027.