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Labour in Local Government

Applying to be a councillor

The process of applying to be a councillor

We have developed a robust process to select the very best candidates to stand for Labour. The process exists to test your interest in and knowledge of local government, the level of your commitment to and track record in the Labour Party and your involvement in the local community. Over the course of the selection process, you will need to complete a detailed nomination form and attend an interview at an assessment centre.

This section takes you step by step from being an interested member, to being selected as a candidate for the Labour Party. It’s a lot to take in but don’t worry, it’s not as intimidating as it sounds and we offer a great deal of support along the way.

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Nomination form
You must first fill out a form covering personal information, your experience and knowledge of local government, your track record in the party and community, and the reasons you would like to be a Labour councillor. The Local Campaign Forum will consider your form and check whether you are eligible to stand and if so, will arrange for you to be interviewed. Forms are available by contacting your LCF secretary or CLP secretary.

Assessment Centre Interview and Exercise
There follows an assessment centre interview and exercise. The questions are set nationally and will seek to expand on the information you have given in the nomination form.

The exercise is designed to test a nominee’s problem-solving skills, rather than a detailed knowledge of local government.

The assessment team writes up the results of the interview and makes a recommendation to the Local Campaign Forum as to whether the nominee should be included on the panel of candidates to select from. Reasons must be given. This report is shared with the nominee, who has a right to appeal to the Regional Board within fourteen days of receipt.

Local Campaign Forum
The Local Campaign Forum receives the recommendations of the assessment centre and makes the final decision on the composition of the panel of candidates.

Successful members of the panel of candidates are invited to provide a summary for distribution to the branches prior to short-listing and selection. A code of conduct, (appendix), must be observed during all of the stages of the selection procedures.

Make sure to speak to your Local Campaign Forum or Constituency Labour Party secretary to find out when the selection process will begin in your area.


Getting shortlisted
The ward party draws up the short list. Once approved for the panel of candidates, you will be asked to write a short biography, which will be circulated to all wards selecting candidates.

The branch may be faced with the names and details of a large number of people, and will only be able to include a few names on the short list. So you need to get noticed, get known and convince members why you should be their candidate!

You need to ensure that members in the branch know you are interested, otherwise nobody will nominate you. If you have named their ward specifically on your form, this may help. However, ask yourself, does anybody in the ward know you or know about you? If so, it is wise to make contact before the meeting and see if they will nominate you to the short list. If not, see what you can do to make contacts in the ward so somebody will nominate you. The guidance from the NEC explains the rules governing this, but candidates are entitled to a copy of the membership list once they have been shortlisted.

Assessment Centre Interview
If you are shortlisted, you will then be called to a selection meeting in the ward and asked to make a speech and answer questions. You should be told in advance how much time is allowed for your speech and how much time there will be for you to take questions. Ensure that you prepare properly. Find out as much as you can about the ward and its local members. Think about the key issues in the ward. Speak to any existing Labour councillors for the ward, if appropriate, and to local members, if you haven’t done so already.

The selection meeting, like a job interview, is an important opportunity for you to put your case as to why you should be selected, so it is important to make a good impression. Look smart, appear confident and be committed and enthusiastic. It is vital that you arrive on time for the meeting – if you are late you may be disqualified.


Once all candidates have gone through the selection meeting assessment process, you will be asked to wait in a side room while a discussion will be had between the members present at the meeting. The members will discuss all the candidates and vote on who they would like to be the candidate.

If you are selected
If you win the selection, you may be asked to say a few words. Apart from thanking the ward for selecting you and commiserating with those who have not been selected, you may want to give a positive start to your election campaign by saying a few words about looking forward to the campaign and working hard for the ward.

If you are not selected
If you are not selected by your first choice ward, you may still have a chance at another ward. If you are on the short list for other wards, try to talk to members in the first ward to find out why they did not select you. There may be lessons you can learn to develop your speech and improve your presentation skills and questions to think about that you had not prepared for initially or may have answered differently.

If you are not successful in this round of selections, make sure you ask for feedback from the Interview and Assessment team, LCF officers and the wards so that you can prepare for the next round. Take up training opportunities and participate in campaigning and community events. Don’t give up!

Download our Becoming a Labour Councillor booklet for more information.

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Labour in Local Government