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Labour in Local Government

Councillor Attributes

What does it take to be a councillor?

To be an effective councillor you must be hard working, committed and passionate about improving the area you live in. Councillors must balance the needs and interests of residents and values of the Labour Party, as well as the council.

Being a Labour councillor is an extremely rewarding experience but it does also demand your time. It is important that you are able to balance your council and party commitments with your personal life and professional work. Make sure you consult with family and friends before making the decision to stand as a councillor.


“Being a councillor is the greatest privilege. It’s a really practical way of being a champion for the Labour Party at a local level”.

Cllr June Hitchen, City of Manchester

The skills to stand

Below is a person specification which shows the skills you will need to be an effective Labour councillor. How do you measure up against the criteria?

Community leadership
Engages enthusiastically and empathetically with the community in order to learn, understand and act upon issues of local concern. Mediates fairly and constructively, encouraging trust by representing all sections of the community.

Regulating and monitoring
Understands and executes judicial role by following protocol, evaluating arguments and making decisions that balance public needs and local policy. Ensures progress by monitoring and intervening where necessary.

Scrutiny and challenge
Acts as a critical friend to the council by seeking opportunities for scrutiny and providing constructive feedback. Analyses information quickly and presents arguments in a concise, meaningful and easily accessible way.

I decided to stand for council to make a real tangible difference to everyday lives, give a little something back to the community and do whatever was possible to prevent the burden of austerity falling harshly on those already struggling.

Communication skills
Listens sensitively, uses appropriate language and checks for understanding. Communicates regularly with individuals and groups in the community, speaks clearly and confidently in public, and makes sure that people are informed.

Working in partnership
Builds positive relationships by making others feel valued, trusted and included and by working collaboratively to achieve goals. Maintains calm and focus, recognises when to delegate or provide support and is able to take a long-term view in developing partnerships.

Political understanding
Acts ethically, consistently and with integrity when communicating values or representing group views in decisions and actions. Effectively works across group boundaries without compromising values or ethics.


Tempted to take on the challenge of standing as a councillor? Read about our robust process to select the very best candidates to stand for Labour.

You can also download the full Becoming a Labour Councillor booklet.

Up next

Applying to be a councillor