Becoming a Councillor

Could you become a District Councillor and make a difference in your community?

This page gives information on the role of a District Councillor and how to become one. Elections for North Kesteven District Council take place every four years and the next set of elections are scheduled to take place on Thursday 4 May 2023. Parish Councils across the district will also have elections on the same date. 

You may wish to contact your local council for specific information about becoming a parish Councillor.

We all have a different experiences, skills and interests: perhaps you'd like to get more activities for young people, help local businesses thrive, make decisions on planning applications or improve services generally. Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in many ways. Representing the District’s residents, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.

Perhaps you are already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step. Or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your local community. You don't need special skills or experience and you get paid a reasonable allowance for your time, with training available to help you develop new skills.

If you are considering becoming a Councillor both at parish/district/county council, more information about the role of a Councillor can be found at the on the Local Government Association website.

North Kesteven District Council serves the District of North Kesteven, which covers an area of 92,000 hectares and is characterised by small settlements and large areas of farmland. There are around 100 communities in the District, the two largest being Sleaford (with approximately 19,000 people) and North Hykeham (with 15,500 people).

North Kesteven District Council comprises 43 Councillors representing 26 wards. Councillors are elected for a four year term.

The Leader, appointed by the Council appoints Councillors to the Executive Board. The Executive Board at North Kesteven comprises six Councillors. All Executive decisions are taken by, or on behalf of, the Executive Board.

Councillors usually meet as a full Council 7 times a year. Individual planning and licensing decisions are taken by separate committees, to which Councillors are appointed.

There are also Overview and Scrutiny Panels to act as a check and balance on decisions taken by the Executive Board.

For information on the role and responsibilities of Councillors, see our Role of a Councillor webpage.

To stand for election, on the day of nomination, you must be:

  • 18 or over; and a British or eligible EU or Commonwealth citizen

And you must meet at least one of the following:

 

  • You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government in North Kesteven from the day of your nomination onwards. 
  • You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in North Kesteven during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election. 
  • Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the North Kesteven area. 
  • You have lived in the North Kesteven area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election. 

 

You will not be able to be a District Councillor if you:

  • work for North Kesteven District Council;
  • hold a politically restricted post for another authority;
  • are subject to a bankruptcy (or interim bankruptcy) restrictions order, a debt relief (or interim debt relief) restrictions order;
  • have served a prison sentence (including suspended sentences) of 3 months or more within 5 years prior to the election;
  • have been disqualified under the Representation of the People Act 1983 in regard to corrupt or illegal practices;
  • Are subject to the notification requirement of or under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the ordinary period allowed for making an appeal or application in respect of the order or notification has passed.
  • Have a conviction under Section 34(4) of the Localism Act 2011

For more detailed information please go to the Electoral Commission’s website Part 1 Can you stand for election LGEW (electoralcommission.org.uk)

More information is available at:

Political party useful websites:

Other useful contacts:

What is the Councillor Induction Programme?

A Councillor Induction Programme will take place after the Local Elections in May 2023. Further details are likely to be available in February 2023.

The Councillor Induction Programme is an essential series of activities, informative training sessions and events, designed for both re-elected and newly elected Members. 

It is the responsibility of the Councillor to attend and participate in the Induction Programme. The Programme provides Councillors with the opportunity to gather the necessary information to begin to serve their residents straight away, with the essential tools and equipment needed to undertake the Councillor role. 

It is important to note that it will be considered essential (compulsory) for Members of certain Committees to attend certain events in the Programme to receive the required training for that Committee e.g. Licensing or Planning Committees. Non-attendance for this essential (compulsory) training will mean that you are not able to sit on this committee until the training has been completed. 

Candidates standing for election will need to set aside time to attend these events. 

The Local Government Association provides useful guidance for New Councillors, as a helpful introduction to this important role. 

For more information you can email Democratic Services Team at democratic_services@n-kesteven.gov.uk.

Can I be elected to more than one Council? Yes you may be a Councillor for several Councils at the same time – such as District Council, County Council and Parish Council.

Do I have to belong to a political party? No. Although the majority of people do stand for election to become Councillors as a result of joining a political party, some people stand for election as independents.

How much of my time will it take up? It is for you to decide the level of commitment you are able to give to being a Councillor. Generally Councillors tend to set the number of hours they can allocate to suit their personal circumstances this could range from a few hours every week to a few hours each day at busier times.

Will I be paid? There is no salary for being a Councillor, however, you will be paid an allowance to reimburse you for time and expenses incurred whilst on Council business. In 2022/23 the allowance was £5,634 per Member. For more information please see our Member Allowance Scheme.

What support can I expect? A comprehensive induction programme is arranged for all elected Councillors. Some training and development events will be essential (compulsory) for you to attend and these will be clearly marked on the programme. As a Councillor you will be using email, a council issued tablet to access council agendas and other related information and full IT support will be given. Many councillors now also choose to keep in touch with local people through social media and personal webpages. In addition to this, there is a rolling 12 month Member development programme of training and briefing events with ongoing support to Councillors from the Democratic Services Team.

Will I get time off work? By law your employer must allow you to take a reasonable amount of time off during working hours to perform your duties as a Councillor. Many employers recognise that the skills people develop as Councillors are also very useful in the workplace. You should, however, discuss this with your employer before making a commitment.

Who pays for my election costs? You have to pay your election costs, however, if you are a member of a political or other group, you may find that financial help is available. You will need to check this with your political party or group. You must keep all receipts, as you will be required to submit a statement of election expenses shortly after the election. There is a limit on election expenditure. More information can be found in the candidates nomination pack.

I’d like to become a Councillor, What next? The next set of Council elections are scheduled to take place on 4 May 2023. Full details of the electoral process will be available online in Feburary 2023 and this will include the dates of any briefings that will be held for candidates and the nomination papers which need to be completed to stand for election. For more information please see our Electoral Registration and Elections webpages. If any vacancies arise on the Council before the elections in 2023 details of any by-elections will be given on the forthcoming election dates page.

When do council meetings take place? Most Council meetings and committee meetings are held in the evening, starting at 5pm but some will take place during the day. You can see a full calendar of council meetings on our democracy website. Councillors are appointed to serve on committees at the Annual Council meeting which is held in May each year.

What do Parish Councillors do?

When people in the community need guidance, it is often the parish council that is turned to for support. By becoming a Parish Councillor you become someone your community will look to for help, guidance and support. 

Parish councils make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community.  Probably the most common topics that parish councils get involved with are planning matters (they are statutory consultees), crime prevention, managing open spaces and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities. 

Once elected, Parish Councillors sit on the council for a maximum of four years.  If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election. 

Am I eligible to be a Parish Councillor?

To stand for election on a parish council, you must:

  • be a UK or commonwealth citizen, or;
  • be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, or;
  • be a citizen of another Member state of the European Union;
  • be a least 18 years old.

 To be eligible to stand for an election for a particular parish, you must:

  • be an elector of the parish, or;
  • for the whole of the previous 12 months have occupied (as owner or tenant) land or other premises in the parish, or;
  • during the previous 12 months have worked in the parish (as your principal or only place of work), or;
  • for the whole of the previous 12 months lived in the parish or within three miles of the parish boundary.

 You don’t have to be connected to a political party. If you do become a Parish Councillor you will have to sign up to the Code of Conduct.

The best way to find out what it’s like to be a Parish Councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now. Speak to current Parish Councillors if you can, or the clerk to the parish council will be a helpful point of contact and can provide further information about standing as a Parish Councillor.