What you need to know
People become councillors for many reasons, including:
- to represent their community
- raise an issue they feel passionate about
- follow political ambitions
- use their skills to help shape the future of the council
Councillors, also known as elected members, can come from many different backgrounds. In fact, it is best if councillors are diverse so that they represent the community they are elected to serve. No formal qualifications are required.
To be eligible to be a candidate at any principal area (Borough/District or County-wide) local government election, an individual is required to be qualified to be elected by virtue of being a qualifying British, Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland or Member State of European Community citizen aged 18 or over and satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
a) registered as a local government elector within the respective council area;
b) during preceding 12 months occupied as owner or tenant land or premise within electoral area;
c) principal or only place of work during preceding 12 months was within electoral area;
d) during whole of preceding 12 months resided within electoral area.
Further detail with regards to a candidates eligibility to stand is included on the Electoral Commission website.
It is not necessary to belong to a political party, although the majority of people become councillors through this route. Some people stand as an independent councillor, separate from the political parties.
There are currently 36 Watford councillors and an elected Mayor.