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What is a councillor?

Councillors are local politicians who are voted for by the public at local elections.

The country is split up into different areas and each area has a council that takes care of local issues. Councils are also sometimes referred to as local authorities.

Councils are split up into different geographical sections, which are called wards. Wards are represented by councillors. Each ward is represented by either one or more councillors depending on their size.

Councillors make decisions on things like council housing, rubbish collection, recycling, parking, transport, roads and footpaths, parks, leisure centres and libraries.

Councillors sit on different committees within their council that focus on specialist areas of interest like social care or children.

Councillors are elected every four years. Each four-year period they serve is referred to as a term. If a councillor resigns, is sacked or dies, people who live in the ward they represent vote for a new councillor at a by-election.

A councillor usually represents a political party. However, this is not always the case. Those who don’t represent a political party are called independents.

They are not paid employees of the council but they do receive an allowance and expenses to cover the cost of their public duties.

Anyone can stand for election as a councillor as long as they are at least 18 years old and are registered to vote.

Related content:

What is local government?

What are local elections?

What is an MP?