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How to become a Councillor

18 October 2017

Councillors are elected by the community to represent the interests of local people.
Their work normally involves:
  • attending council and committee meetings
  • making or help shape decisions on local services
  • representing the council on other organisations
  • helping the council to achieve its corporate aims
  • championing the needs of local people and local communities
  • taking up issues on behalf of constituents.


Being a councillor requires you to care about your local community, be willing to give up some of your time and be keen to learn.


To qualify as a candidate you must satisfy the following criteria on nomination day and polling day:


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of any member state of the EU.


A candidate must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications during the whole of the 12 months before the nomination day and on polling day:


  • Be registered as a local government elector for the council
  • Have been an owner or tenant of any land or premises in the council’s area
  • The main or only place of work has been in the council’s area
  • Have lived in the council’s area.


We have a guide which gives you information about being a councillor at Essex County Council. You can also find out about how you can stand as a local councillor and how local councillors got started in local government.


The Local Government Association provides information about standing to be a councillor, their guide provides information about different types of councils, why people choose to stand for election and what the role entails. At Essex County Council we ask councilors to agree to a privacy notice.


If you have local issues that matter to you, want changes to your neighbourhood, are already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step, then you should consider standing as a councillor.

The next county council elections are scheduled to be held on 6 May 2021.

We held two prospective candidate events in September 2016 which provided information about being a councillor including:


  • An overview and an introduction to the Local Government landscape including: About Essex County Council, Local Government including structure and responsibilities, budget, composition of the council, cabinet, overview and scrutiny.
  • The role of an Essex County Councillor - introduction to the role and duties of all members, specific member roles, code of conduct.

If you would like to find out more about standing as an Essex County Councillor, contact you can also follow Democratic Services us on Twitter @ECC_DemSer.