The role of a councillor
As a district council, we provide a range of services to our residents, including waste and recycling collection, car parking, community development, licensing and environmental health, planning and building control, markets, parks and open spaces and housing advice.
Councillors are elected to represent their ward, to understand the issues and concerns they face and to take action for their constituents. They also champion West Suffolk as a whole, taking decisions together to encourage investment, manage growth and to deliver services for West Suffolk’s families and communities.
As a locally elected representative, you could become involved in an enormous variety of activities! The type of things that councillors often do are:
- attend their local parish or town council and/or residents association meeting, updating the community on what West Suffolk is doing, and taking feedback from the community on issues that affect them
- receive enquiries and concerns from their local residents, and respond to them
- attend events within their local community, supporting and helping local community groups
- act as a community leader, helping local groups to form, seeing local challenges and helping to resolve these
- represent the community at local events, and act as an advocate for the community
- liaise with other local representatives – you may have another Councillor also representing your ward, and you will also engage with your local County Councillor, Parish or Town Chair and so on.
Councillor experiences and case studies
We asked our councillors about an ordinary ‘day in the life of a councillor’ and their experiences as a councillor:
We need councillors from all backgrounds and experiences who reflect the communities they serve to put themselves forward for election.
Find out what the role entails from those who became councillors: Local Government Association - Case studies
Once elected, councillors undertake a carefully planned induction programme, with further training and development available throughout their time as a councillor. More information regarding the induction plan, including dates and times of sessions, will be sent out to candidates that are validly nominated.
Councillors are expected to
- Abide by a code of conduct. This expects you to adopt good standards of behaviour whenever you are acting as a Councillor.
- Respect relevant protocols of behaviour – there are protocols that assist in how to work with council officers, and expected standards when looking at planning and licence applications
- Follow any guidance provided by the council
- Attend relevant training events to ensure they understand what is expected from them, and specific knowledge for some committees.
- Regularly check their e-mails and other correspondence. All councillors are supplied with a laptop computer by the council and can also be given access to emails on their own device.