What can I do for You?
As a councillor representing a local ward, my main role is to represent my constituents in the decision making process of the council and to be available to answer queries and assist with problems you may have with the council and its responsibilities.
Some of this may be at a formal level, for example speaking on behalf of the ward at a planning committee meeting or bringing a proposal to council for further consideration. Other aspects are more informal, such as helping to explain council policy and answering any questions people may have about local services.
Much of my role consists of acting as a go-between between the council and residents. If you are unsure of who to approach regarding a problem then I can get involved, either by speaking to council officers on your behalf or helping you find the right person to talk to directly. If you are already in direct contact with the council but feel that your voice isn’t being heard, or you would appreciate some help interpreting the response, then that’s usually something I can help with as well. Translating planning-speak into English is a common task!
Something to be aware of, though, is that I can’t tell council officers and employees what to do, and I can’t change council policy on my own. I will do my best to help in anything that I can, but getting in touch with a councillor isn’t a magic wand that can solve everything. Sometimes, the best I can do is try to explain why an unpopular decision has been made rather than have any influence in changing it. The realities of finance, and the fact that the majority of our income comes from you, the taxpayer, mean that we can’t always do everything we would like to. And in many cases, particularly planning matters, the law sets stringent limits on our freedom to do as we might prefer.
With that in mind, these are the areas where you are most likely to need to get in touch with me as a town or district councillor:
- Cemeteries and churchyards
- Street names on new developments
- Grants to local organisations
- Street cleaning, litter, fly-tipping and general tidiness issues (including dog poo!)
- Household waste collection
- Parks and leisure facilities
- Car parks
- Planning and licensing
- Social housing
- Environmental health issues (including noisy neighbours and grubby takeaways)
Some of these are managed by other organisations, but as a councillor I can still speak to them on your behalf or help you find the right person to talk to directly.
Some things are outside my role as a town and district councillor. These include:
- Highways and transport
- Trading standards
- Schools and libraries
- Registry offices
- Social services
- Waste disposal sites
I won’t be able to help directly with any of these, but I can pass on any query to the relevant county councillor. If in doubt, feel free to ask – all your local councillors, at all levels, work closely together on a wide range of issues and we’re all happy to act as the first point of contact and then make sure it gets to the most appropriate person.