How to become a Councillor

This page explains the criteria for becoming a District Councillor, or a Parish Councillor.

District Councillors

To become a District Councillor for your area, you will have to stand as a candidate at the local elections. These are held in May, 3 years out of every 4.

If you are interested in taking a key role in the life of your community, but are not sure just what it involves, visit: Be a Councillor .

Qualifications

To qualify as a candidate for elections to a Local Authority, a person must be at least 18 years old on the day of nomination and must be either:

  • a British citizen;
  • or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland;
  • or a Commonwealth citizen;
  • or a citizen of another member state of the European Union.

A prospective candidate must meet one of four qualifications:

  • be a registered elector for the Local Authority area;
    or, for the whole of the previous 12 months have:
  • lived in that area;
  • or occupied, as owner or tenant, any land or premises in that area;
  • or for that 12 months, have had their principal or only place of work in that area.

There are disqualifications that can prevent a person from standing as candidate at a local election. Details of disqualifications are shown on the nomination forms.

Paperwork

Any person wishing to stand as a candidate will need to complete the following paperwork:-

  • Nomination Paper
  • Consent to Nomination
  • Appointment of Election Agent (optional)
  • If you are a candidate for a registered political party you will also need to submit:-
  • Certificate of Authorisation
  • Request to use the Party Emblem.

If you wish to receive a set of nomination papers, contact: Electoral Services and a set of papers will be sent to you.

After the election you, or your election agent if you have appointed one, will be required to submit to the Returning Officer:

  • a return showing your election expenses;
  • a¬†declaration as to your election expenses;
  • and a¬†declaration by your election agent (if appointed) as to your election expenses.

The return must be submitted within 35 days from the declaration of the result of poll. The declaration(s) must be submitted at the same time, or within seven days from the date that the return is submitted.

By law, the Returning Officer must make the return and declaration(s) available for public inspection for a period of two years from the date of submission.

For further guidance on being a candidate, visit: Electoral Commission: Parties, agents and candidates .

Parish / Town Councillor

To become a Parish / Town Councillor for your area you will have to stand as a candidate at the Parish / Town elections. These are usually held in May every 4 years.

Qualifications

To qualify as a candidate for elections to a Parish / Town Council, a person must be at least 18 years old on the day of nomination and must be either:

  • a British citizen;
  • or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland;
  • or a Commonwealth citizen;
  • or a citizen of another member state of the European Union.

A prospective candidate must also meet one of four qualifications:

  • be a registered elector for the area of Town or Parish;
    or for the whole of the previous 12 months have:
  • lived in, or within 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) of, that area;
  • or occupied, as owner or tenant, any land or premises in that area;
  • or for that 12 months, have had their principal or only place of work in that area.

There are disqualifications that can prevent a person from standing as candidate at a Parish / Town election. Details of disqualifications are shown on nomination forms.

Paperwork

Any person wishing to stand as a candidate will need to complete the following paperwork:

  • Nomination Paper;
  • Consent to Nomination.

If you are a candidate for a registered political party, you will also need to submit:

  • a Certificate of Authorisation;
  • and a Request to use the Party Emblem.

If you wish to receive a set of nomination papers, contact: Electoral Services .

After the election, you will be required to submit to the Returning Officer:

  • a return showing your election expenses;
  • and a declaration as to your election expenses.

The return and declaration must be submitted within 28 days from the declaration of the result of poll.

By law, the Returning Officer must make the return and declaration available for public inspection for a period of 2 years from the date of submission.