This survey offers a glimpse of the problems that political parties and organisations face as they seek to broaden the social base of local councils by encouraging more women, younger people and more people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups to see themselves as candidates for local election.
Although about a half of candidates support the idea of more women and more minorities some three-quarters want more people between the ages of 18-35 years. Two-thirds of candidates believe that such changes would improve local government’s public image.
Some 84% see a role for local authorities in publicising the work of elected councillors. A clear majority believe that websites offer an opportunity whilst almost two in three agree that leaflets about becoming a candidate could be enclosed with council tax notifications. Two-thirds agree that party organisations are the best means for recruiting new candidates.
What about more proactive measures? While 46 per cent support the idea of local authorities directly advertising for candidates a third disliked the idea. There is similar support for a national advertising campaign, with 43 per cent in favour and 27 per cent against.