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Are you passionate about your community? Do you want to help make a long-lasting change? Do you have innovative ideas for the council? Do you have concerns about a specific issue and want to do something about it? If this is you, then we need you. We need people from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect their community to put themselves forward for election. Make a change and become a councillor.

Here, you will find everything you need to know. We explain what local councils and councillors do, how you can become a councillor, details of the role and what to expect, and local councils a range of resources to help recruit candidates.


Local (parish and town) councils and councillors make a massive difference to local people's quality of life. They are passionate about their communities and seek to make a change to help improve their residents' lives. 

Local councils run numerous services, depending on the size of the council. Many you will see day-to-day, but some are less known. These include introducing solar panels, setting up dementia-friendly groups, organising community buses, creating neighbourhood plans, implementing suitable housing, establishing youth projects, managing allotments and open spaces, maintaining footpaths, public seating and litter bins.

Councillors are elected to represent the local community, so you must either live or work in the council area. Becoming a councillor is a rewarding experience as you will be able to make a change in your community to help improve residents' lives. A councillor’s role can include developing strategies and plans for the area, helping with problems and ideas, representing the community, working with other local community groups, decision making and reviewing decisions and talking to the community about their needs and what the council is doing.


Local councils can only be as helpful, connected and energetic as the people elected to run them, so we need councillors capable, enthusiastic and engaged to reflect their communities. You can find out more about becoming a councillor on The Electoral Commission and Local Government Association website. There are three ways that you can become a councillor; standing for election, filling a vacant seat after an election (co-opted) or filling a casual vacancy.


Hear from councillors themselves on why they became councillors and what their role is at their local council. We have produced a series of videos that tell the stories of councillors. These community heroes are proof that you, too, can make a change in your community.


The Make A Change campaign encourages local councils to engage with as many residents from their community as possible. It will help improve local councils through various experiences, skills, and knowledge and help councils become representative of their communities.

NALC has produced some resources for your local council to use to help residents stand for election. See below:

Editable elections flyer — easy-to-read information about local elections

Editable A4 posters and A3 posters — quick and precise way to publicise the local elections

Editable press release — a template to help publicise local elections through the local media in your area

Information sheet for prospective candidates — all the information you need to know about local councils and the role of councillors

Social media assets — includes images and suggested posts for social media channels.

Timetable for local elections — a resource to help understand the deadlines for the election process

FAQs — frequently asked questions about local elections

How do I co-opt a councillor? — a resource for councils on how to use the co-option process to gain the right councillor for the council


Leading up to the May 2021 local elections, NALC held a free online public event on everything you need to know about local councils and what they do, the role of a councillor and how to become one. The event featured viral sensation, Jackie Weaver, a group of community heroes and Times Radio presenter, Matt Chorley.

Speakers: Cllr Emily Benner, Croxley Green Parish Council, Cllr Rachael Pearson, Denmead Parish Council, Cllr Dan Thomas, mayor of Much Wenlock Town Council and Jackie Weaver, chief officer at the Cheshire Association of Local Councils

Host: Matt Chorley, presenter for Times Radio and Saturday columnist for The Times



NALC is committed to supporting local councils, councillors, and county associations to increase the numbers of candidates, raise councillors' profile, deliver more local media coverage, and make the process simpler. That is why NALC published its report on local council elections after conducting the first national research of this kind.

The report's purpose was to undertake extensive research and collect a data pool that gives a picture of the elections in 2019. The study will also help NALC shape future campaigns and create a range of resources to help local councils and county associations run their election campaigns.

NALC collected data from local councils, councillors, and county associations across England over six months through a survey with over 3,700 respondents. The data gathered explored behaviours, experiences, geography, size of councils and looked into who the average councillor is.

Read the full Local council elections 2019 report