Open letter: People powered change
Our communities thrive when people get involved and come together to take action on the issues they care about.
This includes local councillors who are the lifeblood of local democracy and the cornerstone of local government, and who work so hard to make a difference in their community.
Which is why I want to congratulate you on being elected to serve your community at the recent local elections, whether for the first time or re-elected.
I also want to thank you, as well as those councillors in areas without local elections this year, for giving up your time to take up civic office and make a change in your community.
And I want to welcome you to our growing and changing first tier of local government. I am immensely proud of our grassroots movement and model of community power, which brings people together in their place, mobilising their influence, powers, relationships and resources to tackle local issues and contribute to national challenges.
I sincerely hope you enjoy this experience as the role of local (parish and town) councils in building stronger, healthier and more prosperous communities has never been more important.
As I set out in my New Year Open letter, we must be up for this challenge, and be ambitious for our communities, rethinking our relations, ambitions and engagement.
This includes upholding the highest standards of conduct and behaviour, and I would urge you to ensure your council considers the new national model councillor code of conduct and that you take up training and development as part of your induction or as a refresher.
The wider issue of civility in public life is among our priorities and our work includes linking in with that of the Local Government Association, lobbying for changes to the standards regime including sanctions for poor behaviour, and working with the Society of Local Council Clerks and county associations on support and guidance.
All of us at the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and in the network of county associations are here to support your local council. Do ensure you make full use of what’s on offer, from training to events, publications and resources, and more; this will help equip you with some of the tools you need to be an effective councillor.
You can stay up to date with our work at NALC through our website, our social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and by subscribing to receive our regular newsletters and weekly bulletin.
The times ahead will be challenging, exciting and at times frustrating. So for new councillors do take time to settle in, read the standing orders and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. And I would urge re-elected or experienced councillors to play their part in helping you.
Good luck, have fun, and make a change.