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PROBE INTO 'BARRIERS' TO BECOME A COUNCILLOR

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Incentives and barriers to a wider range of people standing as local candidates for local elections are being exami...
Incentives and barriers to a wider range of people standing as local candidates for local elections are being examined by the new Commission on Local Councillors.

Launching a call for evidence today the commission is looking at what motivates people to become councillors, the support councillors need to enable them to carry out the role effectively, and what can be done to attract more interested and able people into the role - especially those who are currently under-represented such as women, younger people and those from black and minority ethnic communities.

The commission will also look at the issues that might discourage people from becoming councillors such as difficulty in getting time off work, balancing the role with home responsibilities, remuneration, and restrictions on who can become a councillor.

Commission chair Jane Roberts said:

'We are not saying that current councillors aren't doing a good job.

The 20,000 councillors in England play a valuable role, dedicating their evenings and weekends to council business, addressing constituents' concerns, and finding solutions to improve front line services. Our work will crucially look at the barriers that prevent every day people becoming councillors as well as the incentives and support they receive to see how we can get even more people involved.

'We must tap into those who are not currently civically involved to find out why.'

Statistics show just 4 per cent of councillors are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds; the average age of a councillor is 58 with more than 50% over 60 compared with just 0.3 per cent under 25 and under 8 per cent under 40; and 100 years since women won the right to stand for town hall elections, fewer than 3 in 10 councillors are women.

Policy & politics

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