How to become a District Councillor

District Elections are held every four years. In the Breckland District there are 49 Councillors who are elected in 27 wards. 

The next elections will be held in May 2023.

Candidates can stand as a party candidate or as an independent candidate.

To become a candidate you must be at least 18 years old at the date of nomination and be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any member state of the European Union, and meet at least one of the following four qualifications:

  • You are, and will continue to be have an entry on the electoral register
  • You have occupied as owner or tenant land or other premises in the area for 12 months
  • You have worked in the area for 12 months
  • You have lived in the area for 12 months

Candidates may be disqualified if they work for the Council or hold a politically restricted post with another local authority. All candidates may be disqualified if they are declared bankrupt or have a previous criminal conviction with a three-month or more prison sentence.

For further information on reasons of disqualification please checkSection 80 of local government act 1972 or any decision made under sections 78A or 79 of the Local Government Act 2000, within the meaning of Part I of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

The Nomination Process

No experience is needed to stand for election as a Councillor. To stand as a candidate, a form known as a nomination paper must be submitted. The nomination paper gives details of the candidate's name, address (in full) and political description (if any) that will be used during the campaign. District Council nomination papers have to be attested by a Proposer and Seconder and another 8 people who support the nomination to stand as a candidate. 

Everyone signing the nomination paper must be included on the Register of Electors for the Ward in which the election is to be held. If someone signs your nomination paper and they are not included on the relevant Register of Electors, the paper will be declared invalid.

A person wishing to stand as a candidate will be issued with the following:

  • Nomination paper
  • Consent to nomination
  • Appointment of election agent
  • Timetable
  • Candidates' guidance

A candidate who is standing on behalf of a registered political party will also need to submit:

  • Certificate of authorisation
  • Request to use the party emblem

At the close of nominations the candidate will be notified as to whether or not the nomination is valid. If a candidate wishes to withdraw their nomination they have until no later than noon on the 16th working day prior to the date of the election to withdraw.

The law limits the description candidates can use. For a District Council election, unless a person is standing on behalf of a political party, they may only use the word "Independent" or have no description at all. Candidates cannot submit a nomination paper using a political party description unless they have the political party's permission to do so and a certificate from the party authorising the use of their particular description must be obtained.

Some candidates appoint an agent to assist them and they can be appointed to take responsibility for the management of your campaign. Candidates can arrange the appointment of other agents at the polling stations and at the count.

Does it cost any money to stand as a candidate?

There is no charge to stand as a candidate in District elections but there are strict rules on the amount and manner in which expenses are incurred by the candidate and how they are paid. The amount depends on the type of election and there is a limit on how much a candidate can actually spend. Because of these strict rules, a detailed return has to be submitted, showing exactly how much and in what circumstances a candidate has incurred expenditure. Expenses are non-refundable.

Access to Elected Office Fund

In July 2012, the Government announced the launch of the Access to Elected Office Fund.  The fund offers individual grants of between £250 and up to £40,000 (with an average value of about £4,000) to disabled people who want to be considered for selection as candidates for an election, or are planning to stand for election.

The financial support will apply to candidates who are applying to the following list of elections and by-elections; UK Westminster elections, English local elections, greater London authority elections, English mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioners. The fund now also covers Parish and Town Council elections.

To apply for the fund or to find out more please visit the Access to Fund website.

Casual vacancies, arising through resignation, death or disqualification may occur at other times and notice is given locally.  If you would like any more information regarding the filling of casual vacancies please contact electoral services at the details given below.

Breckland Council
Electoral Services
Elizabeth House
Walpole Loke
NR19 1EE

01362 656870


Last updated: 16/06/2020 14:05:39