The role of a councillor
What matters to you in your local area?
Is it the condition of the local park, the need for more activities for young people, improving services for older people, making the roads safer or ensuring that local businesses can thrive?
Whatever needs changing in your community, you could be just the person to change it by becoming a local councillor. No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to quality of life for people in your local area.
There are roughly 20,000 local councillors in England across the three tiers of local government, each representing their local community and all with their own reason for doing so.
You may already have an idea of the type of people who stand as local councillors, but this image could be outdated. Councils are particularly keen to encourage people from under-represented groups to get involved, such as younger people, people from England’s many ethnic communities and disabled people.
Women are also under-represented on local councils. You could be the fresh new talent that your council is looking for. Are you ready to help change the face of local government?
What is the 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 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 professional lives. 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.
Please note: Being a Town Councillor is a voluntary role.
As a local councillor, your residents will expect you to:
respond to their queries and investigate their concerns
communicate Council decisions that affect them
know your patch and be aware of any problems
represent their views at Council meetings
know and work with representatives of local organisations
work with interest groups and businesses
What do I need to become a councillor?
To become a councillor, candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:
Be at least 18 years of age
Be British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union
Registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election
must not be declared bankrupt
must not have had a criminal conviction within the last five years which involved a custodial sentence of three months or more.
Don’t worry if you don’t yet feel that you have the skills or confidence to be a councillor. All Councils provide support, information and training for new councillors.
If you have any further questions, please get in touch.