How to become a councillor

If you’d like to help shape where you live and influence how decisions are made in local government, you can stand in local council elections to become a councillor. How to become a councillor.

You can stand as an independent candidate or a candidate nominated by a political part you are a member of.

Qualifications to stand as a candidate

There are no formal qualifications needed to become a councillor. However, you must be:

  • 18 years of age or over at the date of nomination
  • A Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of another Member State of the European Community

You must also meet one of the following four qualifications:

  • Be a local government elector in the area
  • Have your main or only place of work within the area for the whole of the previous 12 months
  • Have lived in the area for the whole of the previous 12 months
  • Occupied as owner or tenant, any land or premises in the area for the whole of the previous 12 months

A person cannot become a councillor if they:

  • Are employed by the council
  • Hold a politically restricted post
  • Are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  • Have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before election day
  • Have been disqualified under Part III of the RPA 1983 (which relates to donations and other offences) or under the Audit Commission Act 199831
  • Have been convicted or reported guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court, or if they have been disqualified from standing for election to a local authority following a decision of the Adjudication Panel for England

Unlike parliamentary elections, a deposit is not required to stand at local elections.

Standing as a member of a political party

If you are considering standing as a candidate for a particular political party, you will need to be a member of that party's local organisation.  Many parties have a national website where you can get information about their organisations in your area.

Standing as an independent candidate

The majority of people become councillors as a result of joining a political party. However, some people stand for election as independents who do not belong to any political party.

Further guidance

The Electoral Commission give full guidance on how to become a councillor. For further guidance on standing for election in Knowsley, you can arrange a meeting with the Elections Manager at the Elections Office in Huyton Municipal Buildings before an election. Please contact the helpline on 0151 443 2222.

Anyone wanting to stand as a candidate within Knowsley will be issued a nomination pack containing a nomination paper.  This has to be completed and include ten signatories: a proposer, a seconder and eight assentors who must be local government electors from the ward the candidate wants to represent.

The nomination paper must be delivered to the Elections Office before the date given on the Notice of Election.  The nomination pack also contains candidate and agent guidance issued by the Electoral Commission.

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