At a time when there is changing public sector landscape there are huge opportunities for local people to become local leaders. Whether helping an area to survive the harsh economic climate, protecting services that are under threat, or providing the events, culture and fun that puts the heart into each local community – local councils have never had a better opportunity to make a difference.
At their best, local councils are democratic, citizen led organisations with the powers and abilities to deliver a range of services tailored for their community’s needs and act as champions for them.
This is no time to sit on the fence or offer views from the sidelines. Local councils need active, interested and committed people to serve and get involved in their work.
Modern day local councillors are not bound by stereotypes of what a local council ‘traditionally’ does and instead wish to explore how the council can affect change in a whole range of areas from local transport, health and well being, local economic development, housing, planning, and youth services.
The guide looks at new powers that local councils now have; what they can do and must not do; processes around meetings; delivery of service; and lots of tips explaining in simple terms the broader world of local government.
Further it explores some of the main issues and challenges facing local councillors today and includes hints on how to be successful in this position of being a community leader. Whether you have a few hours to spare or just 10 minutes, you will find helpful information in this guide about the areas in which you may become involved.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chair of National Association of Local Councils (NALC) said: “This latest edition of the guide is available at a crucial time for communities where there are significant opportunities available and some of these are around being local councillors and making a real difference in your neighbourhood. I would urge you to use this guide as introduction into the work local councils and the part you could play as a councillor in the tier of local government closest to the people.
“I believe that you can make a real difference to the community that your council represents. You are now part of the democratic framework of the country representing the interests of your community within a broad landscape of national governance.
“Being elected as a councillor does not mean you are expected to have all the solutions for your community but through experience and expanding your grasp of your role you will be better placed to deal with the range of issues that arise.”
Local councils can access print copies of the Good Councillors Guide by contacting their local county association.