What matters to you in your local area? Is it providing more things for young people to do, improving services for older people, making the roads safer or ensuring that local businesses can thrive? Whatever needs changing in your local area, you could be the person to change it by becoming a county councillor.
Lancashire County Council can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it. The Council needs councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people and a passion for change.
Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing the population of over 1.2 million across Lancashire, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.
On Thursday 4 May 2017, all 84 Lancashire County Council seats are up for election. This is an opportunity for you to stand as a representative of your local community and become a county councillor.
If you think being a Lancashire county councillor is for you, test your eligibility to stand and find out more.
County councillors are the elected representatives of Lancashire County Council. They are elected for four years unless they are elected at a by-election, in which case they must stand again at the next normal election for the seat.
Representing people in Lancashire, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action is the most important task that any councillor undertakes. Significantly, it is also often the role that local people value most.
Lancashire County Council covers a large geographical area, which is currently broken down into 84 electoral divisions. County councillors are elected to serve Lancashire and to specifically represent one of these electoral divisions on the council – making a total of 84 councillors. You can find out about the political make-up of the council here.
To become a councillor you have to stand at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes from the local electorate.
You do not have to belong to or represent a political party to stand in the elections. You can stand as an Independent Candidate or choose not to have a description to your name. If you wish to represent a political party it must be one of the parties registered with the Electoral Commission.
If you choose to stand for a party you will need to go through their selection process before you can be put forward as their candidate.
If you’d like to find out more about being a councillor for a political party please visit:
A summary publication that outlines the role of a councillor and how the council works, gives perspectives from existing councillors and provides contact details for further information.
An interactive workbook, providing a more detailed, practical understanding of the role of a county councillor.
which gives an insight into the role of a county councillor.
The Electoral Commission Candidate and Agent guidance – a link to all of the current guidance for Candidates and Candidate Agents
Are there any legal requirements to becoming a councillor?
Yes. The legal requirements to stand as a councillor are as follows:
To qualify as a candidate you must be:
You must meet at least one of the following criteria:
You cannot stand for election if you:
I’m still not sure about whether I am eligible to be a councillor at next year’s election. How can I find out?
Test your eligibility or read the Electoral Commission’s guidance.
I would like to be a candidate for a political party. Who should I contact?
For contact information about each of the political groups, please see the tab above this one named ‘How do I become a councillor in Lancashire’.
How can I stand for council without joining a political party?
You can stand for council without belonging to a political party. You might find it helpful to read the Electoral Commission’s guidance for independent candidates.
Will I get paid to be a county councillor?
Councillors are not paid a salary but they are entitled to receive a ‘basic allowance’ which is intended to recognise the time devoted to their work on behalf of the people of Lancashire and in connection with council business.
Each council sets its own rate for members’ allowances, and you can find out more information from Lancashire County Council’s website.
How much time will it take?
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 precise amount of time will depend on the roles and commitments each councillor takes on and can vary, on average councillors can spend up to twenty five hours per week in leading roles, such as Cabinet Member or Scrutiny Chairs.
You will be expected to attend some council committee meetings, which are often held during the day. 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.
Before you consider becoming a councillor you may want to discuss it with your family and friends to make sure they understand what you are taking on. You will need their support as you’ll have to spend some of your spare time on council business.
Will I get time off work?
Yes. By law if you are working, your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your duties as a councillor. The amount of time given will depend on your responsibilities and the effect of your absence on your employer’s business.
You should discuss this with your employer before making the commitment to stand for election.
What support will I receive?
Lancashire County Council is committed to providing councillors with advice and support for all aspects of their role. After an election, all new councillors are required to attend an induction programme to enable them to meet the key officers who will support them in their role and attend learning and development events to familiarise them with the work of the council, the expectations of councillors and ways in which they can carry out key tasks.
Councillors are also provided with ongoing learning and development support to broaden their knowledge, skills and confidence. A councillor working group meets regularly with officers to ensure that councillors are getting the training they need.
In the first few weeks experienced county councillors will be available to guide you in getting to know the workings of the county council and your role within it. You will also be offered a “buddy” – your own personal officer contact to signpost you round the council for the first few months.
You will also be offered a Blackberry and access to the corporate network, which will allow you to access your email, intranet and other services whilst at home or on the go. There are also IT facilities for councillors to use when they are in county hall.
What support is available for councillors with special needs?
The County Hall complex is a DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) friendly building. The council chamber and committee rooms are fitted with an audio loop system. Specialist office and IT software may also be purchased for councillors with visual or hearing impairment. Councillors with special needs are encouraged to contact Democratic Services following their election to discuss their personal needs.
Do I need to appoint an election agent?
It is advisable to appoint an election agent to act on your behalf. Your agent would, amongst other things, ensure that your forms are sent in correctly, keep a detailed record of financial expenditure for submission after the election and generally organise your campaign ensuring that it is lawful.
How do I find out which division I live in?
You can find out which division you live in by clicking on the link below and using the post code search facility.
How can I find out about upcoming training and development sessions?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Check back after the elections for councillor bios and videos
Click on the link below to access maps showing the current electoral divisions for each of the districts in Lancashire.
Please find below some key dates for county councillors during their first few months of office. This includes training events and committee meetings. The minimum attendance of councillors is likely to be at the Full Council and any meetings of committees, working groups or outside bodies that you may be appointed to.
Council meetings are usually held during normal office hours (9am – 5pm), but can also occur in the evening. By law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off to perform your duties as a councillor. However, it is advisable to discuss your intention to stand for election with your employer before submitting your nomination form.
The following link takes you to the Council’s calendar of meetings, which will give you an idea of the number and frequency of meetings:
You can also watch our meetings live via the Council’s webcasting facility: http://www.lancashire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home
Find out more at one of our information evenings on either Monday 10 October
or Tuesday 25 October, 5.30pm County Hall, Preston. Please click below to register for a place:
Burnley Borough Council
Chorley Borough Council
Fylde Borough Council
Hyndburn Borough Council
Lancaster City Council
Pendle Borough Council
Preston City Council
Ribble Valley Borough Council
Rossendale Borough Council
South Ribble Borough Council
West Lancashire Borough Council
Wyre Borough Council
The Electoral Commission (main office)
3 Bunhill Row
London EC1Y 8YZ