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.
Cllr Azhar Ali
Azhar was drawn in to politics through becoming President of Nelson & Colne College. He later became a Town Councillor and one of the youngest Mayors in the country. Azhar was then elected onto Pendle Council becoming the youngest Leader in the Country.
After the disturbances in some northern towns and cities he was asked by the government to advise on moving forward and served on various working groups as well as campaigning for a better deal for the regions, in particular the North West of England, which resulted in him being asked by his peers in both local government and business to Chair the North West Regional Assembly. After the 7/7 bombings he was appointed by the government as a Senior Advisor on Communities where he advised our government and internationally on a range of issues including cohesion counter terrorism.
Azhar was elected as a County Councillor in 2013 and was appointed as Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing and Chair of the Lancashire Health & Wellbeing board (till May2015). He said, “the role of Councillors is becoming more and more challenging with the cuts to local councils but I really enjoy not only the strategic work as a cabinet member but sorting out problems for local residents working with my colleagues on the district and Town Councils”. Azhar went on to say, “All I’ve always wanted is to help make a positive difference for my local community”.
Cllr Dorothy Lord
Dorothy first came to Pendle when she got married in 1972. She originally lived in a mining village in Hyndburn where she had lived from being adopted in 1953.
Dorothy first became involved in local politics, in her early twenties, when she started delivering leaflets and then going on to standing and winning an election some years later. She represents Colne, in Pendle and gained her County Council seat in 2013.
She said, “It’s hard work sometimes but very rewarding and you can make a difference. Throughout my political career I have brought up two children and now have four grandchildren. Having worked in the care sector and particular with children I have a keen interest in how our children are looked after within Lancashire.”
“Having retired recently allows me more time to work within the County covering the many issues that affect residents’ daily lives. I hope I, with others, can make a difference”
Cllr Mark Perks
Having been born in Farnworth and bred in Horwich, Mark is proud of his Lancastrian heritage. Now living in Chorley, he enjoys walking in the lovely countryside with his dog. Mark has previously worked as a primary school and adult family learning teacher until 2010, when he became a full-time carer for an elderly parent.
Mark was first elected onto Lancashire County Council in 2005 for Chorley North and returned for a third term in 2013. Mark has served on the Cabinet as the Cabinet Member for Young People and Champion for Young People between 2009 and 2013.
Apart from his council duties, Mark is kept busy through his involvement in a number of local groups and organisations which all serve the local community he represents. Mark said, “One of the biggest achievements in my local area was the founding of Astley Village Juniors (later becoming Astley & Buckshaw Juniors FC) to serve the communities of Astley Village and Buckshaw Village. The club operates 15 teams, community holiday programmes and a community coaching sessions. It also provides a volunteer mentoring scheme for young people interested in becoming coaches or referees. I enjoy being involved in the community and I’m often approached for advice on council matters including campaigns locally.”
Cllr Gina Dowding
Gina put herself forward as a councillor after remarking that there needed to be women doing the job – and was promptly encouraged to do something about it! She previously worked for the NHS in health promotion and as a charities manager. Gina said that “a key part of being a councillor is problem-solving – like much of life really, and every problem is different so there is never a dull day. It might be about how to find funding for new play area – and that might involve getting different people together – or how to mediate between different parts of the communities about their parking needs”.
First elected when her children were very young, Gina commented that “while there are times that the role is demanding you can be quite flexible about when you do your council work. The meetings are only a small part of the role – and not surpassingly most of the communication both with the public and with the staff at the council is on email.”
Gina loves cycling and is passionate about transport issues, and making sure that our children and young people have safe routes to school and can get around without expecting or needing a car.
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