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How to become a Councillor

Bedford Borough consists of 27 wards represented by 40 borough Councillors, each serving a four-year term of office. 

Elections are held for all Councillors every four years with the next scheduled Borough Council elections in May 2019.

Standing as a Councillor

Bedford Borough Council

If you're interested in standing as a borough Councillor at the next elections, you will need to complete a nomination paper signed by 10 people who are on the electoral register for the ward you wish to contest. Nomination papers are made available nearer the election.

Parish Council

If you are interested in standing as a parish Councillor you will need to contact the election office or the clerk of your parish council to obtain a nomination paper. Nominations must be signed by two people who are on the electoral register for the parish you are standing in.

Criteria needed 

To become a borough councillor you must be:

  • a British subject or a citizen of the Irish Republic or the European Union and resident in the United Kingdom
  • aged 18 or over on the day of nomination
  • either on the electoral register for the Borough of Bedford, or have lived or worked, or have owned property in the borough for at least the last 12 months

You will not be able to stand for election if:

  • you hold a paid office of employment made or confirmed by the council you wish to stand for
  • you are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  • you have been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to not less than three months' imprisonment (including a suspended sentence) in the last five years

You can also be disqualified from holding office, by order of the court, if you have incurred illegal expenditure (when acting as a Councillor) of over £2,000 and if you have been found guilty of corrupt or illegal practices under the Representation of the People Act 1983 or the Audit Commission Act 1998.

What you need to do as a Councillor

  • You will be representing residents of a particular area at a borough-wide level.
  • You will be asked by residents within your ward to help with problems relating to services or issues within the ward.
  • You will need to obtain a working knowledge of the Council’s services and any issues affecting those services.
  • You will be involved in either decision-making or in scrutinising any decisions.
  • You may be appointed to represent the Council on one or more organisations and bodies either within or outside the borough.

Help you will get

  • You will receive a basic annual allowance (currently £10,425). This amount is set out in the Members' Allowance Scheme, which is reviewed annually by an independent panel which makes recommendations on any changes to the scheme. You will receive help with an induction programme and training opportunities and mentoring (subject to budget availability).
  • If you belong to a political group, then colleagues on the group will support you. The three largest groups on the Council (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat) each have a political assistant who will undertake research etc, and help you and your group in policy and political matters.
  • There is a Members' Suite at Borough Hall where you can meet up with colleagues, or simply sit and read to undertake research or to rest between meetings. 

Further information

If you would like further information about becoming a Councillor visit the Electoral Commission, or email electoral.registration@bedford.gov.uk

If you would like more information about being a borough Councillor you can contact the election office via:

Email: electoral.registration@bedford.gov.uk
Telephone: 01234 718078

See contact details for the parish council clerks

If you support a political group, you may wish to contact them for assistance too.

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