Become a councillor
Have you thought about standing for election to Shropshire Council?
Do you want to help get things done in your neighbourhood? Are you already active in your community? As a councillor, you can make a difference.
Why become a councillor?
Being a councillor is a rewarding form of public service that puts you in a unique position where you can make decisions about local issues and improve the quality of life for people within Shropshire. It gives you the opportunity to help your local community and be part of a dedicated team providing key services for your area.
What does a councillor do?
The councillor's role takes in:
- representing the division
- policy and strategy review and development
- overview and scrutiny
- regulatory duties
- community leadership and engagement.
Being an effective councillor requires hard work. The primary role of a councillor is to represent their division and the people who live in it. Community leadership is at the heart of modern local government and councils are taking on new responsibilities for working in partnership with other organisations, including the voluntary and community sector, to improve services and the quality of life for citizens. Being a councillor is also a great way to gain political experience and useful skills in public speaking, debating and problem solving.
Councillors are expected to take steps to keep in touch with their communities. It is assumed that they will, at least on an annual basis, attend parish/town council meetings and meetings of local community groups. Councillors are also chosen to represent Shropshire Council on outside bodies (both local and national), which include a wide range of trusts, associations and committees.
Who can become a councillor?
To qualify to be a candidate for a local election, on the day of nomination and on the day of the election you must be:
- aged 18 years or over;
- and either a UK or Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of the Irish Republic,or a citizen of a member state of the EU.
In addition, you must meet at least one of the following:
- on the day of nomination and on the day of the election you are and thereafter you continue to be registered as a voter in the Parish;
- for the whole of twelve months before the day of nomination and the day of the election you have occupied any land or other premises as owner or tenant in the Parish;
- for the whole of twelve months before the day of nomination and the day of the election your principal or only place of work has been in the Parish;
- for the whole of twelve months before the day of nomination and the day of the election you have resided in the Parish or within three miles of it.
You will be unable to be elected and to serve as a Councillor if:
- you are a paid employee of the Parish;
- you are subject to bankruptcy restrictions order;
- you have within five years, before the day of the election, been sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of not less than three months without the option of a fine.
How much do I need to know?
The main qualifications are an interest in your community and a willingness to learn. Knowledge, experience and confidence will soon follow. You will be offered a comprehensive induction to your role as a councillor and ongoing support and guidance about your personal development.
Do I have the time?
Councillors have to balance the needs and interests of their residents, voters, political parties and the council. According to the commitments you take on, your work as a councillor can vary from a few hours each week to several hours each day. For most council meetings there are papers to be read beforehand. Some council meetings are held during the working day and so, if you are working, you will need an understanding employer.
What expenses can I claim?
Councillors receive a basic allowance and certain approved duties are eligible for travel and/or subsistence allowances. Some members also receive a special responsibility allowance for particular duties they undertake (for example, chairing a committee).
What other support will I get?
To help you carry out your duties you will be able to use the secretarial and administrative support staff in Members' Services. You can also call on information and advice from the professional officers of the council.
If you are thinking of standing as a candidate for a particular political party, then you should first get in touch with that party's local organisation. If you plan to stand for the council as an independent, contact your local elections officer and they will be pleased to give you more information.
Where can I find out more?
To find out more about the role and responsibilities of the councillor please follow the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) link, or contact Shropshire Council as detailed below.