Stand for election

Stand for election as a Borough Councillor

Do you want to speak on behalf of your community? Represent the interests and needs of local people? Shape, direct and monitor local services in Darlington? Do you feel you have skills you could contribute? Then why not become a Councillor!

What type of skills should a Councillor have?

  • be a good listener and be able to provide advice and help to local residents
  • have the ability to understand and consider detailed and often complex issues
  • be able to work in partnership with other Councillors on various committees or with representatives on external organisations for the good of the whole Borough.

To be eligible to stand as a candidate a person must:

  • be 18 years of age or over at the date of nomination
  • be a British citizen, or a citizen of another Commonwealth Country, the Republic of Ireland or the European Union

On polling day and the day for nomination the person must:

  • be registered to vote with Darlington Borough Council or
  • for the whole of the previous 12 months have lived or occupied land or premises or had their main place of work in the Borough of Darlington.

No formal qualifications are required to become a Councillor and unlike the Parliamentary (General) Election, no deposit is required to stand as a candidate.

A person cannot stand for election if:

  • they are the subject of a bankruptcy restriction or interim order
  • they are employed by Darlington Borough Council or certain other authorities with which it has close links
  • they hold what is known as a ‘politically restricted’ post
  • they have served a prison sentence (including a suspended sentence) of three months or more within five years of the election
  • they have been disqualified from holding office as a result of an election offence relating to corrupt or illegal practices

A person is disqualified from being elected by reason of any disqualification set out in Section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972 - Part V

A person wishing to stand as a candidate will be issued with the following:

  • nomination paper for one of the 20 Wards in the Borough;
  • consent to nomination;
  • appointment of election agent
  • timetable
  • candidates' guidance [external link] 

Nomination paper

Each candidate must submit a nomination paper, which requires ten signatories - a proposer, a seconder and eight assentors who must be local government electors within the ward they wish to represent. The nomination paper must be delivered before the date given on the Notice of Election.

At the close of nominations the candidate will be notified as to whether or not the nomination is valid. If a candidate wishes to withdraw their nomination they have until no later than noon on 16th working day prior to the date of the election to withdraw. 

Consent to nomination

A nomination is not valid unless accompanied by consent to nomination. The candidate must sign a declaration to the effect that he/she is qualified to stand, and the consent must be confirmed by a witness.

Appointment of election agent

Another person can act as an election agent for a candidate. They must complete an appointment of election agent form, and that appointed agent must sign a declaration of acceptance. If no such application is received, the candidate will be deemed to be acting as their own agent. The election agent is entitled to attend polling stations, the opening of postal ballot papers, the verification and the count.

The election agent is responsible for all acts involved in carrying out the election on behalf of the candidate and has a duty to ensure the campaign is conducted according to the law. The election agent is responsible for the financial management of the election campaign and for ensuring that the declarations and returns of expenses incurred by and on behalf of the candidate are delivered to the appropriate officer.

Standing as a representative of a political party

If you are considering standing for a party, you will need to contact the leaders of the local political group to discuss your interest.

If you are standing as a representative of a party, you will need to submit a certificate of authorisation and a request to use the party emblem.


We provide support to Councillors by organising a comprehensive training programme which follows the elections and by arranging further training throughout the four-year period based on individual need.

A current basic allowance is available to help meet any day to day costs of being a Councillor. The Council will provide also dedicated web page for each Councillor which can be used to display information and other items of interest and arrange ward surgeries to meet residents.

More information

Be a Councillor [external link]

Stand for election as a Member of Parliament

To be able to stand as a candidate at a UK Parliamentary General Election in Great Britain you must, on the day you are nominated, and on Polling Day be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • either a British citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or an eligible Commonwealth citizen (Citizens of other countries [including EU member states other than the UK, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta] are not eligible to become a Member of the UK Parliament)

The Electoral Commission provides a large amount of guidance for prospective candidates [external link] 

Prospective candidates are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the legislation governing electoral offences and penalties [external link]

Stand for election as a Parish Councillor

To be able to stand as a candidate at a parish council election in England or a community council election in Wales you must:

  • be at least 18 years old on the day of your nomination
  • be a British citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of any other member state of the European Union
  • meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
    • You are, and will continue to be, registered as a local government elector for the Parish in which you wish to stand from the day of your nomination onwards
    • You have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the Parish area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election
    • Your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination and the day of election has been in the Parish area
    • You have lived in the Parish area or within three miles of it during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination and the day of election

Apart from meeting the qualifications for standing for election, you must also not be disqualified from standing. There are certain people who are disqualified from being elected to a Parish Council in England and Wales.

Prospective candidates at Parish elections should familiarise themselves with the guidance issued by the Electoral Commission [external link]