STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

Could I be a councillor?

The easy answer is, “almost definitely”.   As long as you are:

  • British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union
  • At least 18 years old
  • Registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election

You can’t be a councillor if you:

  • Work for the council you want to be a councillor for, or for another local authority in a political restricted post
  • Are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  • Have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the 5 years before election day
  • Have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court

If you are in any doubt about whether you are eligible to stand as a councillor, you should contact the electoral services department at your local council for advice.

I don’t think I have the time…

How much time you spend on your duties as a councillor is largely up to you and will depend on the particular commitments you take on. The LGA’s 2013 Census of Councillors found that the average time commitment was around 25 hours per week.

Your role within the council will determine how much time you spend on council duties. Joining a planning committee, for example, will increase your workload. You will be expected to attend some council committee meetings, which are often held in the evening so that councillors can attend after work.

As with most things in life, what you get back will depend on how much you put in. But remember, the amount of time you give to it is almost entirely up to you.

Why should I become a councillor?

There are many reasons why people decide to become a local councillor. They include:

  • wanting to make a difference and be involved in shaping the future of the local community
  • being concerned about your local area and wanting to ensure that the community gets the right services
  • wanting to represent the views of local people and ensure that community interests are taken into account
  • wanting to pursue your political beliefs
  • wanting to contribute your business or professional skills
  • concerns about one particular issue
  • as an extension of what you are already doing through a political party, trade union, charity, voluntary group or school governing body – becoming a councillor can be the next step.

Research tells us that people are most concerned about issues such as crime, schools, transport and the environment. Your local council can make a difference on all these issues and many more, and so can you as a local councillor.

There are lots of ways to get involved in your community, perhaps becoming a neighbourhood watch coordinator, a school governor a magistrate would be more up your street. For more information visit www.gov.uk/government/get-involved#take-part