People in communities often don’t understand the role of the council, the different council departments and may not know their own councillor and what they can do for them as well as the limitations of the role. People are uncertain about how decisions are made and the role of their councillor in these.

Decisions seem to come from the Executive and people think their councillor is not taking part – but they’re wrong

People don’t know how things work – they’re lobbying us not to set a budget – people don’t understand the implications of this for us as individuals – we’re not incorporated and our own homes would be at stake if the Government fined the council

Communities’ awareness about the role of ‘politics’ and general understanding about political decision-making is not widespread. The idea that competing priorities and values lie behind choices and decisions in not generally understood. The link between councillors and party politics is weak in many people’s minds. There is a lack of comprehension about party political machinery and how people get put up for election through political parties.

Communities generally don’t understand the new community ‘rights’ and the danger is that the more articulate take over and act in their own best interest. A recurring issue in the research is the danger of private sector interests surpassing the interests of local people.

How people see their community may not link to councillors’ constituencies; people see themselves as belonging to communities of interest or identity. Within a ward there are likely to be overlapping communities and within rural wards it is likely that people commute and spend a significant amount of time away.

People often ‘sleep’ but don’t live there

Now have a look at what people said about groups and organisations