How to become a Councillor
Intersted in becoming a Councillor
This page provides:
- information on how to go about becoming elected
- details of some of the things you need to think about
- answers to some of the questions you might want to ask
If you need more information, or you would like to talk about this with a council officer, please contact our democratic services.
Why become a councillor?
People have many reasons for wanting to be a Councillor. These can be:
- to represent the local community
- to help the people they represent
- to pursue political beliefs
- to play a role in developing local services
North East Lincolnshire Council has 42 Councillors, each representing one of the Council’s fifteen wards.
Councillors are elected to serve for a four year term of office. Elections are held in three years out of four. Councillors are accountable to residents of their ward but it is important to remember that their overriding duty is to the whole community, including those who did not vote for them.
In some areas, electors are also represented by town and parish Councillors. These Councillors are elected to serve for a four year term of office and elections are held once every four years. There are 13 parish councils and one town council in North East Lincolnshire.
Full details of the procedure for becoming a candidate at council elections are set out in the electoral commission’s guidance for candidates and agents.
Councillors have to agree to adhere to a code of conduct to ensure high standards in the way they undertake their duties.
Councillors represent the electors in their ward. Councillors may hold “surgeries” in their wards for constituents to attend but, in general, most contact over individual issues is made by phone.
Councillors also decide on priorities for the council as well as setting the annual budget. All Councillors meet together as the full council, roughly once every 10 to 12 weeks. Councillors serve on committees and scrutiny panels and they can also represent the council on various local organisations.
As a Councillor, you will need to attend meetings. Some of these are held during the working day and others in the evening. For most meetings there will be papers which you will need to read beforehand. You are also likely to receive a lot of letters and telephone calls.
The full council meeting of all 42 Councillors is the ultimate decision-making body for North East Lincolnshire Council. This meeting cannot consider every single decision to be made, so the Council gives powers to make decisions – under what is called the scheme of delegation – to the cabinet, committees and panels.
The Cabinet – sometimes called the Executive – meets to consider major issues affecting the Borough of North East Lincolnshire. Our Cabinet has eight Councillors, each with individual areas of responsibility.
The Council’s scrutiny panels work like the select committees in Central Government and cover areas linked to the Cabinet members’ areas of responsibility – also called portfolios.
The Council also has a
- planning committee
- licensing and community protection committee
- standards and adjudication committee
- appointments committee
- audit and governance committee
Other working groups and panels are set up when needed.
The time commitment needed to attend meetings will depend on how many committees, panels etc. each Councillor is appointed to.
If you are in paid employment, your employer may give you paid time off to attend daytime meetings. Evening meetings start at 6:30pm or 7pm to allow time for those who work during the day to get there, and for those with caring responsibilities to make arrangements for evening cover.
There is no fixed length of time for meetings, but most are completed within two hours. If a meeting is likely to need more time than this, it will usually be clear from the agenda, supplied during the week before the meeting, that this is the case.
Most meetings are open to members of the public. We advertise dates and times and you can contact any of the democratic services officers for details.
Why not come along to a meeting and see for yourself what happens? You can find details of all meetings in our Meetings calendar section.
Support available to Councillors
If you are elected to serve on North East Lincolnshire Council, you will receive an allowance to cover the time you spend on your duties and you will receive support from officers of the council to help you in your role.
North East Lincolnshire Council – like other councils – has a Councillors allowances scheme. Additional allowances are paid to those holding positions with more responsibilities – such as those who chair meetings, for example. The rate paid to Councillors is subject to review by an independent group of people.
Council officers will help you through a comprehensive induction programme for each Councillor and an excellent ongoing programme of training and development to enable you to fulfil your role as a community representative and leader.
Anyone can stand for election providing they are eligible. If you are interested in standing as a candidate for a political party, you should first get in touch with the local organisation of that party. Many national parties have websites which provide information. If you wish to stand for election as an independent candidate, you will need to follow the procedure outlined in the nomination pack available at each election.
You can become a councillor if you:
- are 18 or over on the day of nomination
- are a British, Irish Republic, Commonwealth or other EU citizen
- have property or work connections in the local authority area
- are on the electoral register for the area
A person is disqualified from standing for election if they:
- are employed by or holds a paid office under the local authority
- have been adjudged bankrupt
- have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to not less than three months imprisonment (including any suspended sentence) within the past five years
- have been disqualified from holding office by order of an election court
- have been disqualified following a decision of the adjudication panel for England
Democratic Services, Municipal Offices, Town Hall Square, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU
Telephone: 01472 324121
Opening times: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, except bank holidays