Become a Councillor

How do I become a Councillor?

Elections are held in all wards in three out of every four years, usually on the first Thursday in May. Eligible candidates must be over 18 years of age, and must either be on the electoral register, or have lived, or worked, or owned property in the area for at least the past 12 months.

The candidate must be a Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of Republic of Ireland or a citizen of another Member State of the European Community.

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.

Most candidates are nominated through a political party. However, individuals are welcome to stand in their own right. Before you can be accepted as a candidate you must get one person to agree to propose your nomination, another person to agree to second the proposal and eight other people to assent to your nomination. All of these people must be on the electoral register for the area in which the candidate is standing.

Need to know more?

To find out more about becoming a Councillor, you can:

Why are Councillor's important?

Councillors are important and vital to the local community because:

  • They are a voice of the community
  • They are champions of the users of local services
  • Local people know what is best for local communities
  • They are critical to the effective functioning of democracy
  • They play a very important role in helping to shape future services for the benefit of the local people.

What do Councillors do?

  • Councillors are elected by local people to plan, run, monitor, and develop Council business, which includes taking part in partnerships with others
  • Councillors work to improve the quality of life for people within the Wigan area and make decisions about local issues
  • Councillors are essential in deciding what is in the public interest amidst a range of conflicting issues and views
  • The overriding duty of Councillors is to the whole community, but they have a special duty to their constituents, including those who did not vote for them.

Areas of responsibility

The role of a local Councillor can be varied, and it is up to each individual Councillor how they work. Each Councillor has three main areas of responsibility. These are:

1) Representing people in their area (ward)

  • Holding 'ward surgeries'
  • Dealing with constituent enquiries about aspects of Council business
  • Undertaking casework
  • Explaining Council policy and making sure that the policy has been carried out fairly
  • Campaigning on local issues
  • Winning resources for their ward
  • Encouraging community participation and involvement in decision-making
  • Listening to the needs of local people and taking their views into account when considering policy proposals.

2) Community Leader

  • Representing the Council and constituents on local management boards, school governor committees or local partnership panels
  • Participating in the activities on any outside body to which they are appointed and reporting back to the Council
  • Developing a working knowledge of the organisations, services, activities, and other factors important to the community’s wellbeing and identity.

3) Policy Maker

  • Councillors can influence local policies through their role on full Council and their role on committees, which both scrutinise the work of the Cabinet and recommend policy development
  • Membership of management boards of voluntary bodies and school governors
  • Membership of partnership boards
  • Membership of a political group, which meet separately from Council meetings.

What happens after you're elected?

Newly elected Councillors will be given a full induction and if you're successful in the local elections, you will need to ensure that you're available on the following dates:

  • Week commencing 8th May 2023 to receive IT equipment and begin your induction process
  • 22nd May 2023 to meet the Chief Executive and the Monitoring Officer, and to be welcomed into the Council.

As well as supporting residents in their communities, Councillors sit on Committees and make decisions at local level. They also receive a monthly allowance to enable them to carry out their role.

Councillors are public office holders, and accordingly are subject to a statutory regime, designed to promote high standards in public life. If elected, when you sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office, you are agreeing to be bound by the Member Code of Conduct. You must ensure that you read this prior to signing it, indicating that you will adhere to it.

© Wigan Council