We recommend that all members, candidates and interested parties read the lastest edition of the "Good Councillors Guide" which can be downloaded from the NALC website by using the following link:
"It Takes All Sorts" is a booklet highlighting the difference you can make by representing your community on your local council. It explains the role of local councils and local councillors and tells you how you can get involved.
A councillor is a member of the council and is normally elected for a term of four years.
People of any political or religious persuasion are eligible to become a councillor, although their personal views should not extend into their parish council work.
They are elected to represent the interests of the local community as a whole and promote a harmonious local environment. The number of elected councillors depends on the size of the area.
Local councils are the first tier of governance and are the first point of contact for anyone concerned with a community issue. They are democratically elected local authorities and exist in England and Wales.
The term 'local council' is synonymous with 'parish council', 'town council' and 'community council'.
Local councils are made up of locally elected councillors. They are legally obliged to hold at least one meeting a year. Most meet on a four or six-weekly cycle to discuss council business and hear from local residents. In addition to this, any committees dealing with specific subjects must also hold regular open sessions, at which members of the public can speak.
Council can also set up Sub-Committees or Working Parties. The difference is that a Sub-Committee comprises members of the council whilst a Working Party can include other individuals. Unlike Full Committee's, Sub-Committee's and Working Parties cannot have delegated responsibilities and do not have to be open to the public, however, their findings and recommendations must be minuted and a report submitted to the Main Committee to whom the council has decided they report. These reports are then discussed at Committee level before being recommended to Full Council. The Council or the Full Committee can send report back to the Sub-Committee / Working Party requesting more information or clarification before accepting or rejecting the report and its contents.
District councillors regularly attend parish meetings to report back to the district on developments at parish level. County, unitary and metropolitan councillors are also invited to attend parish meetings when the parish council feels it is appropriate, and they have a standing invitation to attend and report at the annual assembly.
Councillors attend meetings of the full council and often participate in committees that deal with specific areas of council business. Councillors take collective decisions that form the policy of the council.
Training is available for councillors.