How to become a councillor

If you care about the future of local services, helping local people, and feel that you could be a voice for your community you should consider becoming a councillor

Who can run as a councillor

All our councillors are elected by the community once every four years.

It's a voluntary role (you don't get paid), but you do get an allowance and the satisfaction of helping to make a difference in your community.

You don't need any formal qualifications, but you'll enjoy being a councillor if you're well-organised, and good at communicating and working with other people.

To stand for election, on the day of nomination you must be:

  • aged 18 or over
  • a UK, EU or Commonwealth citizen
  • registered to vote in the area, or have worked or lived in the area for one year

You can't be a councillor if you:

  • work for the council
  • hold a politically restricted post in another authority
  • are bankrupt
  • have served a prison sentence (including suspended sentence) of three months or more, in the five years before election day
  • have been disqualified under any legislation relating to corrupt or illegal practices

If you're not sure whether you're eligible to stand as a councillor, or for details of the council's nomination and election process please contact our Democratic services team.

How to get started

Most people become councillors through being members of a political party, but you can also stand as an independent candidate.

Representing a political party

To represent a political party you'll need to:

  • get involved with the party's local branch
  • be selected as their candidate

Standing as an independent

To stand as an independent you'll need to:

  • build your profile so that local people know who you are
  • work out your position on the key issues that matter most to the community

The Local Government Association (LGA) independent group provides more advice on how to run as an independent.

Further information

Be a councillor provides a lot of useful resources, including:

  • an e-learning module, which will help you decide if being a councillor is for you; and
  • a step-by-step guide to take you through the process of becoming a councillor.