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How to be a councillor

Councillors are democratically elected to represent their ward and the people who live in it. A councillor’s responsibilities can include:

  • representing the ward for which they are elected
  • decision-making and helping to develop council policies
  • scrutinising decisions made by council officers, Cabinet members and the Mayor
  • regulatory decisions such as licensing and planning matters

Who can be a councillor?

To be a councillor you must be:

  • British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union
  • at least 18 years old
  • registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before the election

You can’t:

  • work for the council you want to be a councillor for, or work for another local authority in a politically restricted post
  • have been sentenced to prison for 3 months or more (including suspended sentences) during the 5 years before election day
  • have been convicted or a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court

How do I become a councillor?

Councillors can either represent a political group or stand as an independent candidate. If you want to represent a political group you must contact their local branch as soon as possible. They will advise you further about standing to represent them.

If you plan to stand as an independent councillor, you should contact the electoral services team at or 020 8356 3232.

Whether you are standing as a member of a political party or as an independent councillor, you will need to be officially nominated. This means getting 10 people who are registered electors in your ward to sign your nomination papers. This must be submitted with other relevant paperwork.

Nomination packs are available from our elections office or from the Electoral Commission.

Do councillors get paid?

Councillors do not receive a salary. However they do get a member’s allowance in recognition of their time and expenses occurred while on council business.

How can I find out more about what councillors do?

The Local Government Association has produced a guide for people interested in becoming a councillor.

Page updated on: 3 July 2019

Electoral Registration and Elections Office


Hackney Town Hall
Mare Street
E8 1EA

Opening times

  • Office hours: Mon to Fri, 9am - 5pm. Phone line: 020 8356 3232, Mon to Fri, 8am - 5pm