Why be a councillor? (#YBaCouncillor?)
The Communities and Local Government Committee at the House of Commons is conducting an inquiry into Councillors and the Community. Amongst other things, the Committee wants to find out why people decide or decide not to stand at local elections. The inquiry would welcome electronic submissions of any length (up to 3,000 words) from:
- People who serve their communities in other ways (for instance through involvement in voluntary, community or faith groups) but have consciously decided not to run for election to their local council.
- People who have wanted to stand to be a councillor but have encountered barriers to becoming a candidate.
- Former councillors who within the past three years have chosen not to seek re-election.
- Recently elected councillors (elected within the last three years).
The Committee is especially keen to hear from those sections of society currently under-represented on some local authorities – for example: women, young people (including young business people), people from black and minority ethnic communities and disabled people.
The information you provide will feed into the inquiry and may be published alongside other written evidence.
The Committee is also planning to hold a discussion forum later in the year with a cross section of those individuals who make submissions.
Those wanting to make a submission may wish to think about the following questions:
If you have made a conscious decision not to stand for election:
- What do you do to serve your community already?
- Why did you decide against standing for election? (Please be as specific as you can.) Was your decision related more to the practicalities of being a councillor or to what you thought the role would entail?
- What would need to change for you to consider standing in future?
If you have wanted to be a candidate:
- Why did you want to stand for election?
- What, if any, specific barriers prevented you from standing?
If you are a former councillor who chose not to stand for re-election:
- Why did you decide not to seek re-election?
- Would you recommend being a councillor to others? Why/why not?
If you are a recently elected councillor:
- What made you stand for election to the council?
- To what extent has your experience so far lived up to your expectations?
- Do you think you will stand for re-election? Why/why not?
Submitting your response
Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject ‘YBaCouncillor’, by Monday 16 July.
Each submission should:
- be no more than 3,000 words in length;
- be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible; and
- be accompanied by a covering email containing the name and contact details of the individual or organisation submitting evidence.
It is helpful, for Data Protection purposes, for contact details not to be included in the text of submissions, but sent separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website.
Please also note that:
- Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work may be included.
- Memoranda submitted should be kept confidential until formally accepted by the Committee. The Committee has authorised the publication by witnesses of their evidence, but such publication should await the formal acknowledgement of acceptance of the submission as evidence to the Committee.
- Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.