DISABLED residents who may be interested in representing their local community at their next local election can now get a handy guide on how to do so.
The Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, has launched the guide as part of its flagship Be a Councillor campaign.
It’s been produced with the help of disabled councillors in a bid to encourage disabled people to become councillors and bring new experience into local government, and comes as the LGA’s most recent Councillor Census found that disabled people are consistently underrepresented on councils.
In 2022, 15.5 per cent of councillors declared a disability or longterm impairment. This is despite just over 20 per cent of the population having a limiting long-term illness, condition or impairment.
An LGA spokesman said: ‘Councillors make a huge difference to the quality of life of local people and how local issues are dealt with.
However, local councils can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run them.’
The guide, titled ‘Improving access to local government elected office for disabled people’, offers specific advice and support for disabled people who are considering the role. It is accompanied by practical support for councils which aims to improve awareness, accessibility and inclusion at every stage of becoming a councillor.
Cllr James Jamieson, LGA chairman, said: ‘Representing the needs of your community can be an incredibly rewarding experience and if you’re looking to make a difference, putting yourself forward for local election is a fantastic way to do so.
‘Whatever the background, experience and abilities, it’s important that local councils reflect the communities they serve, and any resident should feel able to stand for election, bringing their own experience into the role to the benefit of their local community.
‘The LGA’s new guide for disabled people is part of the package of resources to attract and support prospective candidates to research and understand the requirements of the role and election process.
The new LGA guide is available online at www.local.gov.uk