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Folk encouraged to stand in community council elections

PEOPLE in every corner of Shetland are being encouraged to think about putting themselves forward to become a community councillor.

Nominations are now open for the latest community council elections, with a closing date set for 11 October.

None of the current seats across Shetland’s 18 community councils were contested and the local authority is keen to see this to change.

Community councils meet every four to six weeks and their activities include commenting on local planning applications, undertaking environmental improvements and responding to consultations.

As part of a bid to increase community participation, the recently launched ten-year Shetland Partnership Plan features a target for at least half of all seats to be contested by 2028.

Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell said it was now time to “reverse the trend” of disinterest in community council elections.

He added that local councils give people a chance to gain experience if they wish to stand local authority seats in the future.

“It has been many years since we had a contested election for community council seats in Shetland. Worryingly, we are also seeing fewer people standing at local authority elections too. For the good of local democracy this is a trend we need to reverse,” Bell said.

“Community councils are an important tier of local government and give those serving in them an opportunity to help shape policy in their local area. It is also provides a great grounding for those considering standing for Shetland Islands Council at the next election.

“Now that nominations are open for the next community council elections I encourage anyone considering standing to come forward.

“It is time to reverse the trend of seats being uncontested and it would be particularly good to see those currently under-represented, woman and younger people, taking the opportunity to put themselves forward.”

For more information in nominating yourself for Shetland’s community council elections, visit here.