All councils are led by democratically elected councillors who set the vision and direction, and represent their local community.
What is it?
There are roughly 20,000 local councillors in England. Councillors are elected to the local council to represent their own local community, so they must either live or work in the area.
Each councillor has their own reasons for running but the role offers the chance to make a huge difference to the quality of life for people in your local area. Being an effective councillor requires both commitment and hard work. Councillors have to balance the needs and interests of residents, the political party they represent (if any) and the council.
The councillor’s role centres around community leadership and engagement, responsibilities include:
- representing the ward for which they are elected
- decision-making - developing and reviewing council policy
- scrutinising decisions taken by the councillors on the executive or cabinet
- regulatory, quasi-judicial and statutory duties
How can I get involved?
Once you’ve decided to get involved and stand as a councillor there are 2 main routes; you can decide to stand for one of the political parties/groups or as an independent.
Representing a political party
If you want to represent a political party then get involved with your party locally as soon as possible. They will advise on what is involved and ultimately select a candidate.
Standing as an independent candidate
If you’re thinking of standing as an independent candidate you can contact your council’s electoral services department. You will need to start becoming aware of issues in your local area; what your local council is doing about these issues; and how your own opinion differs from the political parties.
Getting officially nominated
Whether you’ve been selected by a party or are standing as an independent candidate, you must make sure that you are officially nominated as the election date draws nearer. This means getting 10 people to sign your nomination papers (signatories must be registered electors in the ward where you wish to stand) available from your local council’s democratic services department.
You must also give your consent in writing to your nomination. All the necessary documents must be submitted 19 working days before the day of the election.
There is additional support available to you if you’re disabled and considering standing for elected office.