Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Rotherham Council can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it. The council needs councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people and a passion for change.

We need people from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect the communities they serve to put themselves forward for election.

Being a councillor is highly rewarding. Few other roles give you a chance to make such a huge difference to the quality of life of people in your local area and to influence the way issues are dealt with.

It is a common misconception that you already have to be involved in politics to become a councillor. You don’t, councillors come from all walks of life, and they all have in common an interest in improving the lives of their fellow citizens.

If you think being a councillor could be for you, read on to find out more.

Find out about Rotherham Council

As a Rotherham Borough Councillor you would help shape policies and activities that affect the lives of thousands of people from Aston to Wath.

Our councillors play a significant role in community leadership and development. Working with partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors, and with frontline officers, local groups and residents, Rotherham’s elected members are champions of the communities they represent, putting them at the heart of all we do.

Supported by a dedicated team of neighbourhood officers our ward councillors lead on developing and delivering a ward plan for their area, and are responsible for a budget which they can use to fund and support activities to help our communities reach their full potential. Projects to improve community safety, enhance green spaces, tackle social isolation and loneliness, and improve health and wellbeing are some of the many initiatives that ward councillors have delivered in recent years.

In addition to delivering on local ward priorities, Rotherham Borough councillors provide a steer on borough-wide services such as (among others) adult and children’s social care, planning, housing, culture, leisure, refuse services and recycling, economic growth and public health. The council runs 15 libraries, 144 parks and green spaces and maintains 36,000 street lights!

Structurally, as of May 2021, there are 59 elected councillors representing 25 wards, elected every four years. The council elects a leader who appoints a cabinet to lead on specific policy areas from the majority group.

The council is divided into five directorates, each with a strategic director who reports to the council’s chief executive. They are accountable to elected members, and have day to day responsibility for delivering the council’s strategic plan.

How do I become a councillor and what does it involve?

To become a councillor you have to stand at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes from the local electorate.

You do not have to belong to or represent a political party. You can stand as an Independent Candidate or choose not to have a description to your name. If you choose to stand for a party you will need to go through their selection process before you can be put forward as their candidate.

Visit our Becoming a councillor section to find out what a councillor does, what skills are useful, and the next steps to take.

Next steps

To become a councillor, you have to put yourself forward at local elections and compete with other candidates to gain the most votes.

Below are some of the most important steps to consider.

  1. Find out when the next local government elections are in your area by checking with your local council.
  2. Make sure you are registered on the electoral roll with your local council.
  3. If you are interested in independent politics (not a political party), you can get resources and advice from the Local Government Association’s Independent Office and the Independent Campaign Corner. As an independent, you will also need to start working out your views on local issues and services.
  4. To stand for a political party, you’ll need to be a member of the party, get involved locally and go through their selection process before you can be put forward as their candidate for election. You can find out more on each party’s website. This can take up to about a year or more, so please contact your political party as soon as you can. You can also contact the Local Government Association (LGA) political offices
  5. Almost anyone can be a councillor but to check that you are eligible 
  6. Hear from real councillors about what it’s like being a councillor and their tips and inspiration 
  7. Get in touch with a councillor to find out more with an informal chat (or ask us to help)
  8. Watch the Be a Councillor film 
  9. Use our Be a Councillor worksheets to see how you would handle some real situations as a councillor 
  10. Explore, research and keep up to date about your local area, different communities, services, issues and ideas.
  11. Attend council meetings and local events to find out more about local government and your community.
  12. Read the guidance from the Electoral Commission about the processes and forms to fill out to put yourself forward for election. To become nominated as a candidate at a local government election in England, you need to submit a completed set of nomination papers to the place fixed by the Returning Officer by 4pm on the 19th working day before the poll.
  13. Contact the Democratic Services team at your council to get the necessary paperwork, find out the deadlines, and see what help they can give to submit your papers. Find your local council.
  14. You will need to get 10 people (in the ward where you wish to stand) to sign your nomination papers.
  15. Build your local profile, reputation and campaign. Find out more about campaigning from the Local Government Association’s Independent Office, your political party, or the Electoral Commission.

Details of briefing events for prospective candidates will be published on the council’s website.

Does Rotherham Council pay councillors?

Councillors are not paid a salary but they are entitled to receive a ‘basic allowance’, which is intended to recognise the time devoted to their work on behalf of local people in connection with council business. Each council sets its own rate.

What support will I receive from Rotherham Council?

Rotherham councillors benefit from a comprehensive member development programme, with regular seminars, briefings and training sessions. Some of these activities are for members only, but where possible sessions are held jointly with council officers.

The training programme is broken down into three main areas:

  • Specific board and committee training; sessions for members on those relevant committees (which includes planning, scrutiny, audit and licencing among others)
  • Skills development; briefings, seminars and workshops, led by council officers, experienced councillors and external experts (including topics such as chairing meetings, negotiation skills, public speaking, conflict management, media relations and social media)
  • Community leadership development; focusing on the role councillors have in their neighbourhoods and communities (including areas such as community cohesion, inclusive leadership, engaging with residents and community groups and more).

Councillors are also supported by a dedicated neighbourhood coordinator for the ward they represent in the borough. The neighbourhoods team assists elected members in their role as community leaders, and help councillors work with their ward colleagues in developing and delivering an annual ward plan for their area.

As member organisation of the LGA there is also a suite of information and training resources available online to elected members.

What support is available from Rotherham Council for disabled councillors?

The majority of meetings take place at Rotherham Town Hall and the council’s main offices at Riverside House. A number of disabled parking bays are available at the front of our buildings for wheelchair users.

Full wheelchair access is through the entrance at the front of the buildings with lift access to all floors. There are accessible toilet facilities on a number of floors.

The Town Hall, where council meetings are held, is equipped with a closed loop system for the hard of hearing.

I would like to be a candidate for a political party. Who should I contact?

There are a number of political parties active in Rotherham. They can be contacted using their websites and social media pages.

Rotherham Council wards and how do I find out which electoral ward I live in?

Each ward has a web page on the council’s website which includes information about the area, including an interactive map. Here is the full list of electoral wards.

Am I eligible?

You can be a councillor as long as you are:

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

If you are in any doubt about whether you are eligible to stand as a councillor, you should contact the electoral services department at your local council for advice.

You can’t be a councillor if you:

  • Work for the council you want to be a councillor for, or for another local authority in a political 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.
Key dates

Meetings of the full council usually take on Wednesdays at 2pm. There are approximately seven full council meetings per year. There are also committees, boards and select commissions that meet on a regular basis. The full list of meeting dates can be found in Rotherham Council’s calendar of meetings.

Councillors also have regular meetings with their ward’s neighbourhood coordinator to discuss their ward plan priorities and to decide on actions to deliver the ward plan.

Useful contacts

Contact the elections team at Rotherham Council by emailing [email protected]

Local Government Association (LGA) Independent Group

[email protected] / 020 7664 3224

If you are interested in other political parties, please view the Electoral Commission Register of Political Parties.

Be a Councillor Email: [email protected]

Electoral Commission

Online contact form / 0333 103 1928

Common questions about being a councillor

Frequently asked questions about being a councillor