Local Elections 2022

Elections are taking place to all City, Town and Parish Councils in Somerset this May 

Local (town and parish) councils are led by democratically elected councillors from the local community. Local councillors decide on what services and projects the council will deliver. As representatives of the first tier of local government and the closest to their communities, local councillors are best placed to engage with their residents and find out what the real local issues are and how to overcome them.

Local councils are encouraging residents who are passionate about their community to stand for election. There are currently 120,000 councillors serving on the 10,000 local councils in England.

Do you, or someone you know, have what it takes to be a local councillor? Contact your local council and stand for election now.

NALC and the Electoral Commission has produced materials and guidance for those looking to stand for election, and for local councils who are running election campaigns, which can be found below:

Recruiting Local Councillors

Engaging with your community is vital when it comes to recruiting residents to stand in your local elections. NALC’s Diversity Commission is encouraging all local councils to engage with as many audiences from their community as possible.

NALC’s Diversity Commission believes this will enhance local councils through the diversity of experiences, diversity of skills and diversity of knowledge. This will also help local councils become more representative of the communities they serve.

NALC has produced a number of resources for your council to use to help you recruit


TIMELINE

Running your recruitment campaign to the correct timeline is vital. Find below the key dates you will have to look out for.


RESOURCES TO HELP YOU RECRUIT

Make a Change, Become a Local Councillor

Do you care about where you live? Are you passionate about your community? If so, you could make a great local councillor. Stand for election and make a local change.


WHAT IS A LOCAL COUNCIL?

Local council is a universal term for community, village, neighbourhood, parish and town councils. They are the first tier of local government and are statutory bodies. They serve communities and are elected by residents. They can raise their own precept (a form of council tax). There are 10,000 local councils in England and 120,000 councillors who serve on these local councils.

WHAT DO LOCAL COUNCILS DO?

Your local council has an overall responsibility for the well-being of your local community. Their work falls into three main categories:

  • Delivery of services
  • Improve the quality of life for residents
  • Give communities a democratic voice

BECOMING A LOCAL COUNCILLOR

As a local councillor, you can become a voice for your community and make a real change. Local councillors are community leaders and represent the interests of the communities they serve.

Local councillors have three main responsibilities:

  • Decision-making
  • Monitoring
  • Getting involved locally

GETTING ELECTED

To stand for election to a local 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 at least 18 years old
  • Be an elector of the local council; or in the past 12 months occupied land or other premises in the area the local council serves (as owner or tenant); or work in the area local council serves (as your principal or only place of work); or live within three miles of the local council boundary.

FIND OUT MORE

Learn more about becoming a councillor below:

  • All about local councils  top tips on local councils and how you can stand
  • The Good Councillor guide (Find under 'Publications' on the SALC website)

 

PRE-ELECTION PERIOD GUIDANCE

Council Publicity during the Election Period
Important Guidance on ‘Purdah’

There is statutory guidance for local authorities about publicity and information issued during the period just before local elections. The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity is issued under section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986.

The pre-election period is defined as beginning with the last date for the publication of notice of the election to the close of poll at 10:00pm on polling day, often known as the purdah period, the Council, its members and officers should be aware of the special rules designed to ensure the political impartiality of all Council publicity.  This will include the obvious forms such as newsletters, magazines, press releases, posters and leaflets issued by the Council.   It also includes websites, public meetings, local consultation exercises, exhibitions sponsored by the Council and press advertising, and can include spoken words addressed to the public or broadcast through radio, television or the Internet.

Generally, the Council must avoid:

  • proactive publicity of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the elections;
  • publicity that deals with controversial issues that could specifically be linked to a relevant election issue (where this cannot be avoided, the publicity should present issues clearly and fairly with opposing points of views represented); and
  • publicity that reports views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that it identifies them with individual members or groups of members directly involved in the election.

However, the Council can respond to events and legitimate service enquiries provided the answers given are factual and not political. It can also comment on a relevant issue where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside of the Council’s control.

Generally this means that during the election period the Council will:

  • exclude all quotes from and photographs of members directly involved in the election in press releases, publications and other published material;
  • refrain from organising photo opportunities or events which could be seen as giving candidates, members or other political office holders directly involved in the election a platform for political comment;
  • postpone publications, events or promotions until after the election if proceeding could give the appearance of seeking to affect support for a political party or candidate directly involved in the election;
  • not comment on matters of political controversy unless to refrain from comment would be harmful to the Council’s best interests;
  • avoid references in publications to the period the Administration has been in office or to the Council’s future; and
  • not undertake any other activity which could be seen as designed to benefit a particular political party or candidate directly involved in the election.

The Code does not affect the ability of local authorities to assist charities and voluntary organisations which need to issue publicity as part of their work, but it requires local authorities, in giving such assistance, to consider the principles on which the Code is based, and to apply them accordingly.

In conclusion

Councils are obviously permitted to serve their electorate in the way they feel best. Common sense and a little caution is wise in ensuring that public funds are not used to seek the promotion of individuals or groups of councillors.

 

LGA 2015 Guide; Unpacking Purdah

 

Menu