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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 for local councils a range of resources to help recruit candidates.


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

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 in a position to make a change in your community to help improve the lives of residents. A councillor’s role can include responsibilities such as 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 about what the council is doing.


Local councils can only be as useful, connected and energetic as the people elected to run it, so we need councillors who are 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 six simple steps to becoming a councillor:

  1. Check for elections in your area by emailing your elections officer
  2. Submit your nomination to the returning officer — find out more about the process and the criteria
  3. Wait for your nomination to be accepted 
  4. Your nomination is made public by the principal authority
  5. Start your elections campaign
  6. Polling day


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 a variety of experiences, skills and knowledge, and will 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


NALC is committed to supporting local councils, councillors and county associations to increase the numbers of candidates, raise the profile of councillors, 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 purpose of the report was to undertake extensive research and collect a pool of data 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 association across England over six months through a survey that had 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