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  3. Stand as a candidate
  4. Stand as a candidate for a Town or Parish Council

Stand as a candidate for a town or parish council

You can become more involved in your local community at a grassroots level by standing to become a town or parish councillor. These councils have different responsibilities to primary authorities like Bath & North East Somerset, and councillors are usually volunteers.

Town and parish councils act as a bridge between the concerns of the local community and the primary authority. They may also have delegated powers over matters such as play areas and recreation grounds, and can comment on local planning applications.

Find out more about the town and parish councils in the Bath and North East Somerset area

Warning The Electoral Commission issue detailed guidance on the legal regulations you have to follow as a candidate. You may be committing a criminal offence if you don't follow the regulations.

How to stand as a candidate 

The step-by-step guide below offers a brief overview of what you will need to do to stand as a candidate for a town or parish council. Each step contains a link to the relevant guidance from the Electoral Commission that you must follow if you decide to stand.

Visit the Electoral Commission to view or download the detailed guidance directly.

  1. Step 1

    1. Eligibility

      To stand as a candidate, you must:
      • be a British, qualifying Commonwealth or EU citizen
      • be at least 18 years old
      • have a local connection to the town or parish you're standing in (meaning you're registered to vote there, or have lived, worked or owned a property there for at least twelve consecutive months before the date of your nomination)


      Even if you're eligible to stand, you may be disqualified from standing for public office, because of restrictions such as:
      • politically-restricted employment
      • any criminal offences you have committed
      • your financial dealings or record

      The conditions above are a broad summary. For full conditions, view in detail the Electoral Commission's guide to the conditions that you must meet

  2. Step 2

    Decide to stand independently, or as a party candidate

    You can stand either as an independent candidate or for a particular political party. You should contact your local party if you wish to stand for them.

    View more guidance from the Electoral Commission on standing as an independent candidate or on standing as a party candidate

    Complete your nomination papers

    You must submit nomination papers to stand as a candidate. You'll need two nominations from residents of the parish (or town ward) where you're standing.

    View and download nomination papers from the Electoral Commission or request a hard copy from the Returning Officer.

    Papers must be completed by hand and returned in person to The Returning Officer, Brunswick Room, Guildhall, High Street, Bath, BA1 5AW.

    We publish a Statement of Persons Nominated for every parish and town ward, at least 18 days before polling day.

  3. Step 3

    There are certain rules for what you can and can’t do during your campaign, such as not paying canvassers or being dishonest about other candidates. It is important to campaign in a fair and honest way throughout the election period.

    View in more detail the Electoral Commission's guidance on the campaign regulations that you must follow

  4. Step 4

    You should appoint an election agent, who is responsible for the management of your campaign, including finances. There are strict rules on how much you can spend, what donations you can accept and what you must report after the election.

    Find out the campaign spending limit for your parish or town ward.

    View the Electoral Commission's guide to the rules on how to record and submit your campaign spend

    You must use the official Electoral Commission candidate spending return to declare all of your spending and any donations you receive.

  5. Step 5

    You can attend events and locations such as the opening of the postal votes, polling stations, and the election count itself. You may also appoint agents to attend some of these events with you, or on your behalf. After the count is complete, you should be present for the declaration of results.

    Read more guidance from the Electoral Commission on the events you can and should attend

  6. Step 6

    Warning Failure to submit your spending return before the deadline is a criminal offence.

    You must submit your election expenses as soon as possible after the election, even if you are not elected.

    Complete the Electoral Commission candidate spending return within 28 days of the date the result is declared.

    Post your completed forms to The Returning Officer, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Guildhall, High Street, Bath, BA1 5AW.

    Read more about what happens after the result is declared

Next steps

If you're elected, you must sign the declaration of acceptance of office before you can legally become a councillor. An officer from the council you represent will help you to do this.

If you're not elected, you can stand again next time. Elections to town and parish councils take place every four years. Find out more about other elections taking place locally at our Types of election page.