Prospective councillors

Kent County Council is led by 81 democratically elected councillors, also known as members. Councillors represent people within their electoral division and develop council policy.

Councillors are elected every 4 years, and the next election will take place on 6 May 2021.

A councillor's roles and responsibilities include:

  • attending meetings to guide decisions on local services
  • community leadership and engagement
  • scrutinising cabinet and council decisions
  • advocating for local issues and concerns
  • contributing to council policies and strategies.

Read a full list of a councillor's roles and responsibilities.

Understanding local government

Local Government can come in two forms, unitary or two-tier. Kent follows a two-tier system, and is separated into one county council and 12 district, city, and borough councils. There are also a number of parish councils within Kent.

The district councils are responsible for collecting council tax, refuse collection and housing. Parish, community and town councils operate at a level below district and borough councils and provide services such as allotments, bus shelters and play areas and equipment

As a county council, we are responsible for services such as adult social care, education, highways, libraries, consumer protection, and emergency planning.

We have a constitution which outlines the functions, processes and responsibilities of all aspects of Kent County Council, including councillors and officers. This is approved by the Council.

Commitments and meetings

Councillors will have different amounts of time allocated to their duties depending on the roles and responsibilities they take on.

The Local Government Association (LGA) Councillors’ Census 2018 found that on average, councillors spent 22 hours per week on council business. Council meetings were found to be the biggest contributor to this, with members spending 8 hours per week in council meetings.

You can watch some of our council meetings live online, giving you the chance to see council decision making in action. All of our meetings are being held virtually until May 2021.

Allowances and expenses

All councillors receive a basic allowance (£15,406.25 for 2020/21) to perform their duties.

Elected members who take on special responsibilities such as being a cabinet member or a committee chair receive an additional allowance.

They can claim travelling expenses for their official duties and are also allowed to claim expenses for caring responsibilities, either for a child under 15 or a dependent adult.

Read more about councillor expenses.

Support and events

A comprehensive induction programme for new and returning elected members is planned which is being overseen by the Member Development Sub-Committee. This will include the provision of IT equipment and support.

A prospective councillor virtual event is taking place on 9 December 2020.

Sign up to the virtual event

For more information about the event email elections@kent.gov.uk.

How to become a councillor

To stand in the upcoming election, you must follow these steps.

Step 1: check your eligibility

To stand in a Kent County Council election you must be:

  • British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union
  • at least 18 years old
  • registered to vote in Kent or have lived, worked or owned property in the county for at least 12 months before an election.

You cannot become a councillor if you:

  • work for Kent County Council or for another local authority in a politically restricted post
  • are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order
  • have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the five years before election day
  • have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court.

Further details about the qualifications and disqualifications can be viewed on the Electoral Commission website.

Step 2: decide if you want to stand for a political party or as an independent

If you are eligible you must decide if you want to stand for a political party or as an independent. To stand:

  • for a political party, you need to contact them directly and take part in their selection process
  • as an independent, resources and advice are available via the LGA Independent Office and the independent Campaign Corner websites.

Step 3: read the Electoral Commision guide

After you have chosen who you will stand for, you can read the Electoral Commission guide on how to put yourself forward for an election.

Step 4: complete and submit your nomination papers during the nomination period

Further details about the nomination process and period will be published in 2021.

Step 5: build your local profile, reputation, and campaign

You will be ready to campaign to stand for election.

For more information about the process or if you have any other questions email elections@kent.gov.uk.