There are 10,000 local (town and parish) councils in England, with 100,000 councillors serving their communities. You can be one of them.
If you have a local council in your area you can stand for election and become a councillor. You don't need to be a member of a political party or have any background in politics. You just need to be passionate and want to make a positive change to make life better for others.
The next local elections are in May 2019.
WHAT ARE LOCAL COUNCILS?
A local council is a universal term for community, neighbourhood, parish and town councils. They are the first tier of local government and are statutory bodies. They serve electorates and are independently elected and raise their own precept (a form of council tax).
WHAT DO LOCAL COUNCILS DO?
Local councils represent their communities giving them a voice and democratic structure to take action and improve their local area.
Some typical issues local councils get involved with are; planning, crime, road and highways, playgrounds, allotments, burial grounds, transport, housing, saving public assets, open spaces and general civic duties.
FIND YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL?
To stand for election to a local council you must:
- Be a UK or Commonwealth citizen; or be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; or be a citizen of another Member State of the European Union
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be an elector of the local council; or in the past 12 months occupied land or other premises in the area the local council serves (as owner or tenant); or work in the area local council serves (as your principal or only place of work); or live within three miles of the local council boundary.
Local councils also have a mechanism to co-opt councillors onto their council. This usually only happens when the person who wants to put themselves forward for co-option has a certain set of skills, which can benefit their community.
To put yourself forward for co-option contact your local council.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE?
NALC's Councillor Census Survey found on average that 70% of councillors spend 1 – 15 hours per month on council duties.
Local councils usually meet once a month for a meeting. Meetings typically run between two and three hours, depending on what is on the agenda.
Some local councils may also have committees to deal with specific subjects, such as finance and/or planning.
HOW LONG CAN YOU SERVE AS A COUNCILLOR?
Once elected, councillors can sit on the local council for four years. If they want to continue in the post they can stand for re-election.
This does not mean that you have to stay for four years. If you find it’s not for you, or you can no longer meet the commitment, you can stand down at any time.