East Devon District Council

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Guide Become a Parish or Town councillor

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3. What does a Parish or Town Councillor do?

Most people's impression of what a Councillor does is just attending council meetings.  However it is the ordinary day to day contact with local people that Councillors experience in their own community that us the most important part of being a local Councillor.

Councillors are there to consider the information gathered and make a group decision.  No one Councillor is responsible for any single decision.

As a councillor, you will need to:

  • Listen and be a voice for your community: the single most important task is to listen to the views of the people in their community.  By doing this, Councillors gain important information about the concerns and aspirations of the people they represent.  It is for this reason that many public bodies turn to the Parish or Town Council for information about the services they provide.  For example, the District Council consults the local councils on planning applications which affect their area.  Local councils act as a voice for their communities, responding to other authorities and drawing attention to issues which concern the community.
  • Act as an ambassador for your community: Parish and Town Councils also make representations at other local government meetings (District and County Councils).  Councillors are often appointed to sit on local bodies and organisations whose work affects the whole community.  Councillors may be asked to serve on certain groups or attend functions on behalf of the council.  Parish and Town councillors act as ambassadors for their community, keeping everyone aware of local needs and concerns and reporting back on district, council and regional matters.  Councillors represent the voice of their community as a whole, whilst being aware of, and considerate to, specific minority needs.
  • Attend meetings: when elected, Councillors agree to attend all meetings that they are summoned to (if reasonably possible)
  • Attend ceremonial functions: there will be times when Councillors are asked to attend civic functions as part of their duty to the community.  This may be remembrance services, civic dinners and attendance at public events such as the local carnival and other events through the year.

Your fellow Councillors will be there to give you the benefit of their experiences.