What a Councillor does

Posted by NPC Admin on Tuesday, 21st June 2011, 00:00

Being a parish councillor

What is a councillor?

Councillors are elected to represent the entire parish or town council area. They are generally elected by the public every four years.

What do councillors do?

Councillors have three main components to their work.
1. Decision making – Through meetings and attending committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
2. Monitoring – Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
3. Getting involved locally – As local representatives, councillors have responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. These responsibilities and duties often depend on what the councillor wants to achieve and how much time is available, and may include:
× Going to meetings of local organisations
× Going to meetings of bodies affecting the wider community.
× Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public.
× Running a surgery for residents to bring up issues.
× Meeting with individual residents in their own homes.

Attending a meeting of Northwood Parish Council or speaking to any of  the councillors or clerk is the best way to find out what happens there. Meetings are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month in Northwood Primary School commencing at 6.30pm.

How much time does it take up?

Quite often councillors say that their duties occupy them for about two/three hours a week. Obviously there are some councillors who spend more time than this – and some less, but in the main, being a parish councillor is an enjoyable way of contributing to your community, and helping to make it a better place to live and work.   Various relevant training sessions, including that on the Code of Conduct are organised by the IW Association of Local Councils.

What does the parish council do?

The parish council is the part of local government closest to the people. They serve the smallest area and are responsible for the most local of matters. Very importantly, the parish council can "precept" – raising a sum collected with the council tax each year to improve facilities and services for local people.
Parish councils have a number of basic responsibilities in making the lives of local communities more comfortable. Essentially these powers fall within three main categories: representing the whole electorate within the parish; delivering services to meet local needs; and striving to improve quality of life in the parish.

Parish councils also comment on planning applications and licensing applications- they are statutory consultees (they have to be consulted if they so wish) and can be represented at public inquiries.

What next?

Contact the clerk in writing, by 28 June, expressing your interest:
Mrs B Herbert, 11 Wyatts Lane, Northwood, Isle of Wight, PO31 8QB

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