What you need to become a councillor

Who can become a councillor

To qualify as a candidate for election to a local authority a person must satisfy the criteria on the day they are nominated and on polling day they: 

  • have attained the age of at least 18 years
  • are a British citizen, a citizen of another commonwealth country, a citizen of the Irish Republic, or a citizen of another member state of the European Union 

The candidate must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications on the day they are nominated and on polling day: 

  • they are registered as a local government elector for the local authority area in which they wish to stand
  • they have been an owner or tenant of any land or premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day they are nominated
  • their main or only place of work during the last 12 months has been in the local; authority area
  • they have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the last 12 months 

Please note: The qualification to be a registered elector is an ongoing qualification that must be satisfied (unless duly qualified under another criterion stated above) for the duration of councillorship should a candidate be successful in their candidature. It is therefore important to mark all of the qualifications that the candidate satisfies when completing the nomination paper.

However, you cannot stand if you:

  • work for the Borough of Poole
  • hold a 'politically restricted' post for another local authority
  • are bankrupt
  • have served a prison sentence (including a suspended sentence) of 3 months or more without the option of a fine within 5 years prior to the election
  • have been disqualified under any legislation relating to corrupt or illegal practices, or by the Standard Board for England 

Do councillors need any qualifications?

No, you do not need any specific qualifications to become a councillor. Experience of life is probably the best thing you can bring to the role.

Do I have to belong to a political party or group?

No, although the majority of people become councillors as a result of joining a political party. However, some people do stand for election as independents (candidates who do not belong to any political party and the inscription "independent" is shown on the ballot paper).  

Contact details


01202 633013

Democratic Services
Borough of Poole
Civic Centre
BH15 2RU 

Page last updated: 04 June 2019
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