What do councillors do?
Local councillors are the champions of their community who invest time in local projects and issues to the benefit of residents and the neighbourhood. Councillors attend to local needs of residents, local groups and businesses, make decisions on local services, collaborate with district and borough councils to adhere to local needs, and progress vital projects to invest in the future of the community.
What do councils do?
Councils lead on community services such as play areas, footpaths, public seating and litter bins, but may also embark on larger projects such as the running of local transport, leisure services, youth services and climate change initiatives. These activities are funded by a local tax, called a precept which is determined by the council.
How long does it take?
NALC's Local Councillor Census Survey found that councillors put aside, on average, three hours a week for council work. Council work often includes attending meetings, engaging with residents and speaking to local groups and bodies on behalf of the council.
What else is involved?
As a democratically-elected local representative, you have a unique and privileged position – and the potential to make a real difference to people's lives.
However, being an effective councillor can be hard work. You will be balancing the needs of the local area and residents, community groups, local businesses and the council.
You will engage with residents and groups on a wide range of issues and take on an important community leadership role. At the council you will contribute to the development of policies and strategies, including budget setting.
Representing your local area
A councillor's primary role is to represent their ward and the people who live in it. Councillors provide a bridge between the community and the council. As well as being an advocate for your local residents, you will need to keep them informed about the issues that affect them.
In order to understand and represent local views and priorities, you need to build strong relationships and encourage local people to make their views known and engage with you and the council. Good communication and engagement is central to being an effective councillor.
As a local councillor, your residents will expect you to:
- respond to their queries and raise concerns where relevant
- communicate council decisions that affect them
- know the area and stay aware of local issues and concerns
- represent their views at council meetings
Community leadership is at the heart of modern local government. Councils work in partnership with local communities and organisations – including the public, voluntary, community and private sectors – to develop a vision for their local area, working collaboratively to improve services and quality of life for citizens. Councillors have a lead role in this process.
Developing council policy
Councils need clear strategies and policies to enable them to achieve their vision for the area, make the best use of resources and deliver services that meet the needs of local communities. As a local councillor you will contribute to the development of these policies and strategies, bringing the views and priorities of your local area to the debate.
Code of conduct and standards
As a councillor you will be required to adhere to the council's agreed code of conduct. You must register any disclosable pecuniary interests for yourself, your spouse or a partner you live with, within 28 days of taking up office. It is a criminal offence if you fail, without reasonable excuse, to declare or register interests to the monitoring officer.
Any standards matters must be referred to the Monitoring Officer at Lichfield District Council.