Information for Candidates and Agents

Becoming a Councillor

Councillors represent local communities.  Some Councillors are members of political parties.  However, you do not have to belong to a political party, candidates can stand as independents.

Councils are looking for people from all walks of lives to represent local communities.  You can stand for election to become a Councillor as long as you are:

  • at least 18 years old on the day of your nomination
  • either a British citizen, an Irish Citizen, an eligible Commonwealth citizen, or a qualifying foreign national, and
  • meet at least one of the following four qualifications:
  • you are registered as a local government elector
  • you have occupied as owner or tenant any land or other premises in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination
  • your main or only place of work during the 12 months prior to the day of your nomination has been in the local authority area.
  • you have lived in the local authority area during the whole of the 12 months before the day of your nomination

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has 29 Councillors representing 11 electoral wards.  The primary role of a councillor is to represent their ward and the people who live in it and to ensure the Council’s statutory duties are carried out.

Councillors’ duties include:

  • making decisions about the way the council is run and about the services the council provides acting as a point of contact with local groups
  • representing the views of local groups and individuals regarding council policies, services and the needs of the area
  • working with local people and organisations such as the police, health service and local business to develop and plan services
  • holding open sessions - known as surgeries -when they meet the people they represent (their constituents) to discuss whichever issues they have about the neighbourhood.

Councillors receive a basic salary of £19,571 from 1 April 2022 and are eligible to claim expenses for correspondence; telephone calls, travel and subsistence, attendance at seminars and conferences and meetings of outside bodies.  Some Councillors also receive additional payment in recognition of particular duties they undertake such as being a chairperson of a committee or being Convener or Leader.

Nomination Papers and supporting documentation can be downloaded or requested from the Election Office on 01851 822613 or e-mail

Information for Candidates and Agents

Guidance and Resources is available on the Electoral Commissions website (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) for candidates, elections agents and campaigners covering topics on standing for election as an independent or party candidate; spending and donations and Campaigning.

Letter from the Electoral Commission for Prospective Candidates (141.8kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)

Financial assistance for disabled people running in the Election

Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland provides financial assistance to disabled candidates standing for election to help with the extra costs they may incur as a result of their disability.

For more information about applying for a grant from the Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland, see Access to Elected Office Fund (Opens in a new window or downloads a file).


The Scottish Government are encouraging candidates standing for election at the 2022 council elections to complete a voluntary questionnaire to provide data about the diversity of candidates at Scottish council elections. The data will help the government, and other bodies, to understand how representative candidates and elected members are of the communities they serve and how better to support councillors with a broad range of characteristics and experiences. You can complete the 2022 Local Government Candidate Diversity Questionnaire (») (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) online or on paper.

Further information on becoming a Candidate