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Becoming a councillor

As a councillor, you'll work on behalf of the people who live in your ward. You represent them and their views when decisions are taken which will affect them and the ward. You work with the council and residents to improve the area, and deal with problems.

Councillors are the 'bridge' between residents and the council. You'll keep your residents informed about council decisions which affect them, for example a new community centre being built. Residents can also come to you with problems, and you can discuss them with the relevant council staff.

Who can be a councillor?

To be a councillor, you must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • be a British citizen, Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of an EU member state
  • live in the UK

You must also be registered to vote in the area, or have lived or worked in the area, for one year.

What if I do not know enough to be a councillor?

It's not all about having specific qualifications. Your own abilities and experiences are important – do not underestimate yourself. All residents have different skills and life experiences, so the people representing them should too. It's very important that every councillor has something different to offer.

You will not be expected to know everything, or do everything, on your first day. The main things you need are a genuine concern for your local community, and a willingness to learn. Knowledge and experience will follow.

All new councillors are given an induction, which includes a wide range of training to help you carry out your role. We'll also provide you with IT equipment, for example a laptop.

Do I have the time to be a councillor?

The time you need to commit to being a councillor will vary depending on the responsibilities you take on. Councillors who take on extra responsibilities, for example sitting on a committee, will need to put more time in.

Many councillors have work and family commitments, as well as other interests, and manage to balance these with their role as a councillor.

Will I get paid for being a councillor?

All councillors get a basic allowance, which is paid monthly.

Councillors who take on extra responsibilities, like being the chair of a committee, will get extra pay (a 'special responsibility allowance').

Parish councillors are not paid.

When can I become a councillor?

Councillors are chosen every 4 years in local elections.

Most people stay as a councillor for the full 4 years. If they leave their position, an election will be held in that ward to find a new councillor to replace them. This is called a by-election.

You'll have to wait until the next local election (2027) to become a councillor, unless one of the current councillors leaves their position.