Local Councillors are part of a voluntary sector and are elected to represent an individual geographical unit on the council, known as a ward or – mainly in smaller parishes – the entire parish or town council area. Parish Councillors are generally elected by the public and serve four year terms in office; these were unpaid positions until 2004 when allowance schemes were introduced to encourage more people to stand for election. Allowances, which tend not to be very large, are at the discretion of the individual councils and most still choose to maintain an unpaid status.
Gwinear-Gwithian Parish Councillors do not receive an allowance and are unpaid other than minor expenses incurred outside of the parish boundary which most do not claim for.
All seats on Cornwall Council and all parish and town councils in Cornwall were last elected in May 2017.
Councillors have three main components to their work:
1. Decision making – Through meetings and attending committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent, what services should be delivered and what policies should be implemented.
2. Monitoring – Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
3. Getting involved locally – As local representatives, councillors have
responsibilities towards their constituents and local organisations. These
responsibilities and duties often depend on what the councillor wants to
achieve and how much time is available, and may include:
• Going to meetings of local organisations such as tenants’ associations.
• Going to meetings of bodies affecting the wider community.
• Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public.
• Running a surgery for residents to bring up issues.
• Meeting with individual residents in their own homes.
Visiting your council is the best way to find out what happens there. Give the council a call and find out when its next public meeting happens. By law, ordinary people are allowed to be present at most council business.
If you are interested in taking an active part in Parish life as a Councillor you may want to download and read the following documents: