Become a Councillor

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Could I be a councillor?

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

  1. at least 18 years old and
  2. a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union, and
  3. meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
    • are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the parish/community
    • have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the parish/community area during the whole of the preceding 12 months before the day of co-option/election
    • your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of co-option has been in the parish/community area.
    • have lived in the parish/community area or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the date of co-option/election

You can’t be a councillor if you:

  1. Are employed by the parish/community council or hold a paid office under the parish/community council (including joint boards or committees).
  2. Are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order.
  3. Have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before the date of co-option/election.
  4. Have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices and offences relating to donations). The disqualification for an illegal practice begins from the date the person has been reported guilty by an election court or convicted and lasts for three years. The disqualification for a corrupt practice begins from the date a person has been reported guilty by an election court or convicted and lasts for five years.

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.  Contact Allerdale Borough Council.   Tel: 01900 878657   Email: electoralservices@allerdale.gov.uk

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 https://www.gov.uk/government/get-involved/take-part/become-a-councillor

To find out more, download A step-by-step guide
Take an e-Learning module to help you decide if being a councillor is for you