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Role of Cornwall Councillor

The Cornwall Councillor has two main roles:

1) In the electoral division, being a representative of the constituents and acting as a key link between local residents and the Council.

  • This is the role often referred to as casework. Local people approach their councillor to raise issues of concern to them: these may be concerns about matters directly impacting upon them, e.g. housing, local highways, schools, social services, planning etc. or there may be more general concerns about the policies and direction of council services.
  • The councillor may help by providing information about council services or procedures; or may chase up those responsible for providing the service; or may act as an advocate for the person to ensure that they receive the service to which they are entitled; or may refer the person on to other bodies who could help.
  • Sometimes, the casework may lead on to the councillor identifying a more general matter of concern from which a change of policy or procedure in the Council is the best outcome. The local councillor may work with other councillors who have encountered similar situations in order to strengthen the arguments for change.
  • The councillor will listen to the views and concerns of local bodies and organisations within his/her division, such as parish councils, in order to ensure that he/she has a good feel for local issues.
  • The councillor will work to ensure that the needs of the whole of his/her division are fairly represented in the Council's overall policies and procedures.
  • The councillor should also keep local residents informed about developments within the Council which will affect all residents of Cornwall or just the particular area. This information can be provided through newsletters or reports to the parish councils, as appropriate.

2) Within the Council, contributing to the development of its policies and budgets and to the monitoring of the performance of local public services.

  • As well as dealing with local issues in their divisions, councillors have a responsibility towards the overall performance of the Council.
  • The councillor will have to vote on certain issues that come before Full Council (see section on decision making).
  • In addition, most councillors will sit on particular committees such as planning, licensing, portfolio advisory committees, scrutiny committees etc. Whilst sitting on those committees, the councillors are duty bound to vote according to their judgment of the best interests of the Council as a whole.
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