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How to become a councillor

We provide information on the process of nominations for all types of elections and publish various documents during an election timetable including a list of candidates for specific elections. For information on particular elections please go to the elections page for the current year.

Scheduled district and parish council elections, at the end of a four-year term of office, are held every year for three years for a third of South Lakeland's area. However, casual vacancies can occur at any time and further information is under the relevant section below.

For information email: elections@southlakeland.gov.uk

Become a parish councillor

You can be a candidate if you are over 18, on the electoral register, and have lived, worked or owned or tenanted property in the area for at least the past 12 months.

You may be disqualified as a candidate if you work for the council or hold a politically restricted post with another local authority. Bankruptcy or a previous criminal conviction with a three-month or more prison sentence would also disqualify you as a candidate.

Although some candidates may be nominated through a political party, the majority of candidates at parish council elections stand in their own right. Both individuals and party candidates are welcome to stand as candidates.

However, before you can be accepted as a candidate you must ensure you meet the required qualifications, are not disqualified to become a candidate, and complete the relevant forms, asking one person to agree to propose your nomination and asking another person to agree to second the proposal. Both of these people must be on the electoral register for the parish, or parish ward, for which you would like to stand as a candidate and they must sign your nomination paper.

Parish casual vacancies

Casual vacancies can occur at any time during a councillor's four-year term of office, e.g. if they resign.

If this happens, the parish clerk will publish a Notice of Casual Vacancy providing a copy to the Returning Officer. If 10 registered electors for the parish, or specific parish ward, with the vacancy write to the Returning Officer within 14 days to request an election a poll will be held. If no by-election is requested, the parish/town council can co-opt a new councillor.

Information about any by-elections will be available on the Elections page at the appropriate time.

Become a district councillor

The criteria is the same as for parish councillors, i.e. you can be a candidate if you are over 18, on the electoral register, and have lived, worked or owned or tenanted property in the area for at least the past 12 months.

You may be disqualified as a candidate if you work for the council or hold a politically restricted post with another local authority. Bankruptcy or a previous criminal conviction with a three-month or more prison sentence would also disqualify you as a candidate.

The majority of district council candidates are nominated through a political party, but a few may stand as independent candidates. Both individuals and party candidates are welcome to stand as candidates.

However, before you can be accepted as a candidate you must ensure you meet the required qualifications, are not disqualified to become a candidate, and complete the relevant forms, asking one person to agree to propose your nomination and asking another person to agree to second the proposal, and asking eight other people to support your nomination (called assentors). All of these people must be on the electoral register for the district ward for which you would like to stand as a candidate and they must all sign your nomination paper.

More information on how to become a councillor (PDF/589KB/12 pages)

District casual vacancies

Casual vacancies can occur at any time during a councillor's four-year term of office, e.g. if they resign.

If this happens, the council will publish a Notice of Casual Vacancy. In respect of district council casual vacancies, only two registered electors for the district ward are required to call an election within 14 days and by-elections are always requested to fill a vacancy on the district council. Information about any by-elections will be available on the Elections page at the appropriate time.

Stand as a candidate

If you are interested in becoming a district or parish councillor, nomination packs are available from the Returning Officer once the relevant Notice of Election has been published.

The Electoral Commission has information on elections and candidates including Guidance for Candidates and Agents at various types of elections.

Related information

About my vote

Cumbria Association of Local Councils and National Association of Local Councils has further information on parish elections and candidates

Electoral Commission's guide for candidates to local elections

Local Government Association