Laura Sharman 24 October 2013

How to become a local government councillor

What is a local government councillor?

A councillor is someone elected to the council to represent the local community and help secure better services and quality of life for residents.

There are many reasons for choosing to become a councillor but the most common include:

· You want to make a difference and care about the local community
· You want to represent the views and concerns of local people
· You have your own political beliefs you want to convey
· You have professional or personal skills you feel could benefit the local community.

There are no formal skills required to become a councillor but most people draw on skills acquired from professional or personal experiences. This could include communication, team working, problem solving or time keeping.

Under the Electoral Administration Act 2006, anyone over the age of 18 may be a candidate for their local council. While councillors do not have to live in the district or ward they are standing for, candidates must be on the electoral register or be employed in the area. In general, those living in the local area are more likely to be elected.



How do I become a local councillor?

Firstly candidates must decide if they wish to run as a member of a political party or as an independent councillor. Unlike parliamentary elections, no deposit is required to run for council elections.

It is necessary for a small number of supporters (currently 10 people) who are registered to vote to sign the your nomination papers. These in turn must be submitted to the council's electoral officer 19 days before the election.

Councillors do not receive a salary although they do get a basic allowance to cover time and expenses incurred while on council business. The amount will vary from council to council.

Click here to find out what a councillor does.

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