Thinking of becoming a
So you're thinking about becoming a councillor?
Parish, district or county?
If you want to be a candidate for a parish, district or
county council then you need to be:
If you're not on the register, then you must have either:
- owned land or property;
- lived in;
- or worked in the electoral
area during the 12 months immediately before the
You may be disqualified as a candidate if you work for
the Council (county, district or parish) or hold a
politically restricted post with another local authority.
Bankruptcy or a previous criminal conviction resulting in a
sentence in excess of three-months would also disqualify you
as a candidate.
Most candidates are nominated through a political party. However
individuals are welcome to stand in their own right. Each
candidate must get one person to agree to propose their
nomination, one other to second it, and a further 8 to give their
assent. All of these people must be registered electors for the
district ward/parish or county division in which you want to
stand for election.
In the case of parish elections, you may qualify as a candidate
even if you don't live in that parish. You need to live
within 3 miles (4.8 km) of the boundary.
Role of a councillor
Councillors are elected to the local council to represent their
local community, so they must either live or work in the area.
Becoming a councillor is both a rewarding and privileged form of
public service. You will be in a position to make a difference to
the quality of other people’s daily lives and prospects.
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. These will all make legitimate demands on a councillor’s
time, on top of the demands and needs of their personal and
The councillor’s role takes on the District Council or County
Council takes in:
- Representing the District Ward or County Division
- Decision making
- Policy and strategy review and development
- Overview and scrutiny
- Regulatory duties
- Community leadership and engagement
You can get some really helpful information about becoming a
councillor from the National Association of
The Local Government Association also publish useful information
on their website "Be a Councillor".
MP or MEP?
If you want to stand for Parliament or become a candidate for
the European elections then you must be over 21.
You can get more information about becoming a parliamentary
election candidate by visiting the Electoral Commission
You can get nomination papers and 'guidance notes for
candidates' from us during the run-up to an election.
There are detailed rules about the number of supporting
signatures you need, about election expenses and about when you
need to return your nomination papers, all of which must be
It doesn't cost anything
to stand as a candidate for local elections.