Councillor Guide

This is your ‘starter for 10’ – a brief route map through the Guide providing an overview of the practical steps that councillors can take to support and develop communities. It takes each section of the full Guide in turn, provides a taste of what’s in it and some ideas to put into action straight away.

Community Involvement – who is bothered?

Encourage more people to get involved

    • understanding what stops people getting involved and what motivates them
    • supporting people to stay involved and feel they can contribute
    • improving your relationship with your constituents

You could:

  • read more in ‘Community Involvement – who’s bothered?’and check out the relevant research section
  • start talking to individuals and groups  in your neighbourhood about what would encourage them to get more involved in making their community a better place for everyone
  • start a weekly walkabout and ask people to join you to talk about issues in the neighbourhood and what matters to them

Communities – what do we mean?

Understand more about your community

    • hearing community voices – from communities of interest, identity and place
    • understanding community aspirations and assets
    • competing priorities and interests – accountability and legitimacy of community groups and organisations

You could:

Community Involvement – what sort?

Know what are you asking people to get involved in and why

  • being clear about what is ‘up for grabs’ in terms of decision making or influence
  • clarifying who sets the terms of the debate and whose agendas are being met
  • understanding different ways that people in communities ‘get involved’

You could:

Feeling confident

Motivate people

  • inspiring people in your commmunity to believe they can make a real difference
  • encouraging and supporting a whole range of people to take on different roles
  • developing creative ways of getting people to share their aspirations and issues and come up with local and innovative ways forward

You could:

  • read more in Feeling confident and check out the relevant research section
  • think about those people in your community who may have ‘leadership’ qualities and may be able to encourage others to get involved via their own networks
  • ask people about what’s good about their area and what they’d like to change

Pooling Resources

Bring people together

  • bringing people in your local community together to discuss issues and concerns and come up with collective ways forward
  • encouraging and supporting groups to work effectively
  • supporting groups to ‘get things done’ rather than doing things for them

You could:

  • read more in Pooling Resources and check out the relevant research section
  • set up regular meetings with  community and voluntary groups in your area and find out what might help them
  • think about how you can improve your facilitation skills

A fair crack of the whip

Create a fair community

  • ensuring that the most well informed and loudest voices don’t dominate
  • questioning myths and assumptions that underlie certain stereotypes and may lead to prejudice and hatred
  • encouraging different parts of the community to meet and listen to each other

You could:

Communities are us

Build a connected community

  • building better relationships between local communities, groups, the council and other public sector agencies
  • understanding barriers to effective partnership working
  • connecting and linking people and services together

You could:

  • read more in Communities are us and check out the relevant research section
  • make local connections and introductions – so residents know the officers who work in the local area
  • support people in area-based meetings and make sure they are accessible

Communities influencing change

Champion culture change

  • advocating community led planning and decision making
  • offering routes for communities to influence policy and service provision
  • developing opportunities for communities to scrutinise processes and decisions

You could:

  • read more in Communities influencing change and check out the relevant research sections here and here
  • investigate ways the community can hold the council to account
  • visit other areas and find out they are managing this change and developing new ways of working

Reality Check

Living in the real world!

  • articulating the challenges you are likely to face
  • carrying out your role in a less than perfect environment
  • regognising that new roles may require new skills

You could:

  • read more in Reality check and check out the relevant research sections here and here
  • think about what you do well and what you could you improve on
  • consider using peer mentoring as support for yourself

The Guide is informed by, and a response to the questions and issues raised in the Inspiring Democracy research 

One comment on “Councillor Guide

  1. Pingback: Councillor Guide – an interesting read | Brandwood Forum

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