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Become a Councillor


  • Are you passionate about your community?
  • Do you want to help make a long-lasting change?
  • Do you have innovative ideas for the council? Do you have concerns about a specific issue and want to do something about it?

If this is you, then we need you. We need people from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect their community to put themselves forward for election.

Make a change and become a councillor.

Here, you will find everything you need to know. We explain what local councils and councillors do, how you can become a councillor and details of the role and what to expect.

What do local councils and councillors do?

Local (parish and town) councils and councillors make a massive difference to local people’s quality of life. They are passionate about their communities and seek to make a change to help improve their residents’ lives.

Chichester City Council is the Parish Council for the city of Chichester. The Council runs numerous services, including creating the Chichester Neighbourhood Plan, managing allotments and some open spaces, maintaining city centre public seating and bike racks, providing the city centre floral planting, distributing discretionary grants and annual awards and organising the annual Service of Remembrance.

You can find out more from our website:

Councillors are elected to represent the local community, so you must either live or work in the council area.

Becoming a councillor is a rewarding experience as you will be able to make a change in your community to help improve residents’ lives.

A councillor’s role can include developing strategies and plans for the area, helping with problems and ideas, representing the community, working with other local community groups, decision making and reviewing decisions and talking to the community about their needs and what the council is doing.

How to become a councillor

Local councils can only be as helpful, connected and energetic as the people elected to run them, so we need councillors capable, enthusiastic and engaged to reflect their communities.

You can find out more about becoming a councillor on The Electoral Commission and Local Government Association website.

There are three ways that you can become a councillor:

  • standing for election,
  • filling a vacant seat after an election (co-opted) or
  • filling a casual vacancy.

Chichester District Council manage the elections to Chichester City Council.

Standing for election

There are six simple steps to becoming a councillor:

  1. Check for elections in your area by emailing your elections officer (
  1. Submit your nomination to the returning officer — find out more about the process.
  1. Wait for your nomination to be accepted
  1. Your nomination is published by the elections authority (Chichester District Council). Chichester City Council will publish candidate details on their website and on the ward boards located around the Parish.
  1. Start your elections campaign
  1. Polling day and the vote count and results announcements

Vacancies after an election (co-option)

If, after an election, there are some unfilled seats, the local council should take steps to fill any vacancies by making co-options within 35 days (not counting weekends and public holidays).

However, if the council does not have enough elected members to be a quorum (meaning at least one-third of the council), the electoral returning officer must run a by-election to fill the remaining places.

Chichester City Council’s co-option policy can be found here:

Chichester City Council Co-option policy – September 2022.pdf

What does a candidate need to do?

  1. Check on the City Council’s website, the electoral authority’s website or with the Chichester City Town Clerk ( or the elections office ( if there is a vacancy on the City Council.
  1. Apply for co-option using the method outlined in the vacancy advertisement
  1. The council may ask you for a CV or invite you for an interview 
  1. The council will choose their co-opted councillor

Casual vacancy

A casual vacancy is a seat that becomes available between elections, which may occur for several different reasons, such as a councillor resigning, becoming disqualified (by committing an offence) or not attending any meetings in six months.

The Town Clerk will declare the vacancy by posting on the City Council website and publishing a notice within the parish. They will also notify the electoral returning officer. 

This notice will also confirm that a by-election will be held if at least ten electors request it within 14 days (not including weekends and public holidays).

If there is no demand for a by-election, the council will fill the vacancy by co-option unless it becomes available within 6 months of the next full City Council elections, in which case the Council may decide not to fill the post.

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