How do I become a Councillor?
Do you wish you could influence the way things are done in your area? Then why not stand to become a Councillor?
When is the next election?
The next district and parish council elections will take place in 2015 unless a by-election is called to fill a vacant seat.
What do Councillors do?
To find out what Councillors do, visit our What do Councillors do? page.
How can I become a Councillor?
To become a Councillor you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the council's Wards.
Elections for all the seats on the district Council are held every four years. Sometimes an individual seat in a Ward becomes vacant in the intervening years and details are published on our Councillor vacancies page as they occur.
Although the majority of candidates for these elections stand as representatives of political parties, anyone is entitled to stand as a candidate provided they meet the principal qualifications.
What are the principal qualifications to stand for election?
To stand for election as a district Councillor, you must be:
- At least 18 years of age
- A British citizen, a citizen of another Commonwealth country or Irish Republic or of another member state of the European Union
In addition, a candidate must also meet at least one of the following four qualifications on the day they are nominated and on polling day:
- You must be registered as a local government elector for the district of South Kesteven
- You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or premises in the district of South Kesteven during the whole of the 12 months before the day you are nominated
- Your main or only place of work during the last 12 months has been in the district of South Kesteven
- You have lived in the district of South Kesteven during the whole of the last 12 months
Certain people are disqualified from being elected to a local authority. You cannot be a candidate if you meet any of the disqualifying criteria at the time of your nomination and on the day of the election:
- You are employed by the local authority or hold a paid office under the authority (including joint boards or committees)
- You hold a politically restricted post
- You are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
- You have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more (including a suspended sentence), without the option of a fine, during the five years before polling day
- You have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 (which covers corrupt or illegal electoral practices and offences relating to donations) or under the Audit Commission Act 1998
Parish and Town Council elections
The candidate qualifications are the same as above (but with reference to the district of South Kesteven replaced with the relevant parish / town and the fourth qualification being amended to read "they have lived in (the relevant parish/town) during the whole of the last 12 months or within 4.8 kilometres (3 miles) of it at [insert address)".
Once you have decided to stand for election as a Councillor, you will firstly need to wait for local elections to be called. The next scheduled local elections are the district and parish elections in May 2015, unless a by-election is called due to the resignation, retirement or death of a Councillor. We have a webpage that lists all current vacancies.
Each candidate must be nominated on a separate nomination paper, signed by 10 registered electors (a proposer, seconder and eight assentors) of the Ward in which you are to stand. In the case of a parish election, you only need 2 registered electors (a proposer and seconder) to sign your nomination paper. Please note that the elector number of each of the people who sign your nomination paper must be shown correctly against their name. A mistake could invalidate the nomination paper.
You must also submit your consent to nomination, which will need signing and witnessing.
If you are standing as a candidate for a registered political party you are also required to submit a certificate from the party's nominating officer authorising your candidacy and use of the party's description and emblem.
All these documents must be submitted to the Returning Officer by 12 noon 19 working days before polling day.
No deposit is required to stand as a candidate in an election to a local authority such as South Kesteven.
Do I get time off work?
This depends on your employer. Some employers are good at encouraging their employees to be councillors and allow time off within reason. You should always discuss this with your employer before standing as a councillor.
Will I get paid?
You will not get a salary but you will be entitled to receive certain allowances . The Council also provides other kinds of support such as full training, supplies of stationery and business cards and access to IT equipment.
How much time will it take?
It depends on how much time, effort and commitment an individual is able to give to the role. The minimum is likely to be the equivalent of one day per week although some councillors spend considerably more time on their duties, especially if they have taken leading roles.
Are there other elections in South Kesteven?
Yes there are; South Kesteven conducts European Parliamentary, UK Parliamentary, county, district and parish council elections.
Elections for Lincolnshire County Council electoral divisions that are within our district take place every 4 years. To become a county councillor, you must stand for, and win, an election in one of the county's electoral divisions (there are currently 77 of them, 15 being in South Kesteven). The next elections for Lincolnshire County Council will be held in 2017.
Other elections are held in South Kesteven to select people to serve as Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Both of these elections have specific legislation and regulations that govern them.
Westminster Parliaments have a fixed-term of 5 years. The next General Election is due to be held on 7 May 2015. South Kesteven comprises 3 Parliamentary Constituencies (one whole and two parts) each returning one MP.
The European Parliament has a fixed-term of 5 years and the next election will take place in 2014. South Kesteven is included with some other local authorities to form the East Midlands Region. A Regional Returning Officer is normally appointed to co-ordinate the election in this region.
You can find additional information on how to stand as a candidate in all of these elections and related issues from the Electoral Commission website.
Where can I get more information?
You can get more information about standing for election to South Kesteven District Council from either the Elections Office at the Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham or further details regarding issues such as:
- The role of your election agent
- The legal requirements with which your campaign must comply
- Your campaign spending limits
- Declaring your election expenses and donations
Online on the Electoral Commission website.
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