What is a Councillor?
Councillors (also known as Members) are normally elected for four year terms, and play a very important role in the running of the Council. Councillors are elected by local people to plan, run, monitor and develop Council business.
Councillors work to improve the quality of life for people within their area and make decisions about local issues. They have to decide what is in the public interest amidst a range of conflicting issues and views. Councillors usually represent a Political Party; however, they can be Independent. All Councillors represent all the residents in their ward.
The role of a Councillor includes:
- Attending a range of other Council related meetings and events
- Attending meetings of other organisations to which they have been appointed
- Attending meetings with officers
- Undertaking training to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date
- Attending Parish Council meetings
- Holding surgeries in their local Ward
- Respond to enquiries in their ward and supporting community engagement
- Acting as an advocate for residents and liaise with officers accordingly
Some Councillors also have other special responsibilities such as the Leader of the Council, or Chairmen of Committees, and some are Members of other authorities such as County or Parish Councils.
Councillors represent everyone in their ward, not just those who voted for them and have responsibilities to their ward, to the Council and to the community as a whole.
Ward responsibilities include;
- representing the views of residents;
- advising residents of Council services available;
- undertaking case work for, and acting as an advocate for, residents;
- ensuring services are delivered effectively in the ward;
- encouraging residents to engage and participate;
- responding to enquiries about decisions affecting residents, opportunities available, rights of constituents, and the reasons why decisions are made.
Many Councillors hold regular drop-in surgeries each month and / or attend community meetings. These are a chance for residents to meet you and discuss their problems or concerns. You may also need to spend time visiting constituents in their homes. On top of this you will be dealing with letters, emails and phone calls from constituents.
Council responsibilities include;
- developing and maintaining a working knowledge of other organisations and services which serve the District;
- regularly attending meetings and actively contributing to any required decision making;
- developing and reviewing Council Policy;
- helping develop the Council’s budget and agreeing the level of Council tax;
- representing the council on outside bodies;
- scrutinising decisions taken by the Executive Board;
- keeping up to date with all developments affecting the District and the Council;
- regularly attending training to ensure knowledge is kept up to date.
The role of a Councillor is to plan, run, monitor and develop Council business. Councillors are essential to deciding what is in the public interest amidst a range of conflicting issues and views.