How do I become a councillor? 

Before you can be a councillor you must get elected. Chase Independents, Bringing Our Community Together aims to stand candidates in every ward and is  always looking for good new people to get involved. There is a procedure to go through, but it is not complicated and there are lots of points at which you are offered help and support. 

Getting approved as a candidate 

There are two main reasons to have a candidate approval system. The first is to ensure that potential candidates know what is expected of them, but it is also to ensure that anyone who has the Chase Independents name and logo associated with them does the Party and community credit. 

You will receive advice and support for the process from the Executive Committee. 

Be Prepared Top Tip: Meet with the party, existing councillors and active candidates to learn more about how and why they became a candidate. 

Getting elected as a councillor 

Unless you are a candidate in a by-election, the election will most likely happen on the first Thursday in May. Between your selection and election day you will be expected to help lead community campaigning in your ward and, in particular, to talk to residents and listen to their concerns. 

This will principally be done on the doorstep. There are also various kinds of events you can hold as well as leaflets and letters you can distribute. 

You will have an agent (and/or campaign manager), and that person will be responsible for organising the detail of the campaign. As polling day approaches things will get busier, and more will be expected of you, so remember to be proactive in making sure that you still have time for family and work. 

If you are elected you will be expected to start immediately, so make sure in advance that people such as your family and employers know this. 

Be Prepared Top Tip: Find out about elections in your area and contact Chase independents. Ask about how elections are run and how you might get involved. 

Costs, legal issues and probity 

The main cost of getting elected is the cost of the campaign itself and includes items such as leaflets, canvass cards and posters. Chase Independents have a fundraising plan to cover the cost of the campaign and we work as a team to approach this. 

Candidates do not receive expenses or payments, but once elected, councillors normally do receive allowances. 

There are some legal constraints on who can and can’t be a local councillor, for example you have to live or work in the council area where you want to stand. There are other reasons such as bankruptcy which prevent an individual from standing and most local authorities publish the reasons why a person couldn’t stand in the election section on their websites. 

Elected representatives at every level are required to complete a Register of Interests which declares your financial and property interests and membership of any organisation that may influence you – such as a political party. The main thing to remember is, if in doubt, declare it and take advice from the Chief Legal Officer if you are elected. 

Every council also has a ‘Members’ Code of Conduct’ which sets out rules for how its councillors are expected to conduct themselves in office such as the need to declare any pecuniary interests at a meeting before items are discussed. Following election, all newly-elected councillors sign a written undertaking to abide by the Code of Conduct. Council officers provide advice on all of these matters to councillors. 

Be Prepared Top Tip: Check what the legal requirements for being a councillor are and that you meet them.