be a councillor: rotherham

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Your essential publication on how to become a councillor for Rotherham.

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  • Rotherham Council is changing for the better. If you care about the area that you live or work in and the issues facing local people, we need you.

    STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE INwww.beacouncillor.co.uk/rotherham

  • 2 Stand for what you believe in

    Councillor XXXXXX

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    For more information about how to become a councillor or to find out more about the role, visit www.beacouncillor.co.uk/rotherham

  • What matters to you in your local area? Is it the state of the local park, more things for young people to do, improving services for older people, making the roads safer or ensuring that local businesses can thrive?

    Perhaps you are already involved in local affairs and want to take the next step. Or you may be looking for a worthwhile and rewarding way to help your local community.

    Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) can only be as effective, relevant and vibrant as the people elected to run it.

    The council is changing for the better and we need councillors who are capable, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people and a passion for change.

    Decisions made by councillors affect the lives of everyone in the area in countless ways. Representing the population of over 250,000 in Rotherham, understanding the issues and concerns they face and taking action are the most important tasks that any councillor undertakes.

    The council is currently overseen by five Government-appointed Commissioners. They take all decisions previously taken by the councils Cabinet and Licensing Board, and have a range of other powers. These powers will be handed back once the Commissioners are satisfied that the council is sufficiently improved. As part of this process, the council is holding all-out elections in May 2016, when the people of Rotherham will be voting for candidates across all 63 seats in the borough.

    We need plenty of talented, high-quality candidates to stand in the election who are willing to work hard and make a difference to their local communities.

    No other role gives you a chance to make such a huge difference to the quality of life of people in your local area.

    If you think being a Rotherham councillor is for you, further information is available online through a quiz to help you determine whether you are eligible to stand, an interactive learning programme which will help you to understand the day-to-day role of a councillor, and training and development sessions in September.

    For details please visit www.beacouncillor.co.uk/rotherham

    INTRODUCTION

  • 4 Stand for what you believe in

    Why should I stand as a Rotherham councillor?There are many reasons why you might decide to become a Rotherham councillor:

    Wanting to make a difference and be involved in shaping the future of the local community.

    Being concerned about your local area and wanting to ensure that the community gets the right services.

    Wanting to represent the views of local people and ensure that community interests are taken into account.

    Having a concern about a specific issue and wanting to do something about it.

    In a time of scarce resources, having good ideas for doing more with less.

    To contribute your business or professional skills.

    As an extension to what you are already doing through a charity, voluntary group or school governing body becoming a councillor can be a great next step.

    Pursuing your political ambitions and contributing to your community. Working in local government can also be a good stepping stone for those who are keen to further their careers in politics many MPs began their political careers as councillors.

    It can be a career-enhancing activity, allowing you to develop leadership and analytical skills and to obtain practical, managerial work experience.

    What do councillors do?Councillors are elected to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) to represent the local community, so you must either live or work in the Rotherham area. Becoming a councillor is both a rewarding and privileged form of public service. You will be in a position to make a difference to the quality of other peoples daily lives and prospects.

    Being an effective councillor requires both commitment and hard work. You will have to balance the needs and interests of residents, the political party you represent (if any) and the council. These will all make legitimate demands on a councillors time, on top of the demands and needs of your personal and professional life.

    Over recent years the role of councils has changed. They now have additional responsibilities such as improving the health and wellbeing of local people through joint working with health services. Another important responsibility is community safety and crime reduction, usually achieved through partnership working with the police and voluntary and community groups. Councils now deliver much of what they do in partnership with other councils, services and agencies, so as a councillor you may have opportunities to sit on partnership boards or committees for health, education, community safety or regeneration.

    Councillor Pauline Dee (Independent), Shropshire Council

    We moved to Wem in 1976 with my husbands job as a county fire officer. Our four children settled into local schools and I wanted to make a contribution to our adopted town. I was co-opted onto Wem Town Council in 1981 but soon discovered as the only female councillor that my help was asked for quite often on subjects that should be dealt with by the district council.

    I stood for election in 1983 as an Independent and succeeded in being elected by just 12 votes to North Shropshire District Council. I served on the Housing, Environmental Health and Economic Development and Leisure Committees over the next 26 years. I was also Chairman of the Council from 1998-2000 and from 2007-2008.

    In 2009 Shropshire became a unitary council and I was elected as one of the two Independents. I enjoy working with the public and being part of my local community in trying to improve the quality of our lives by working together.

    It is important to have a good relationship with council officers who work extremely hard to implement the councils wishes on ever decreasing budgets and staff levels.

  • Stand for what you believe in 5

    What are the roles and responsibilities? The councillors role and responsibilities include:

    developing strategies and plans

    serving the community

    representing the community

    working with others

    making rules and regulations.

    Most councillors hold regular drop-in surgeries each month. Surgeries are a chance for residents to meet you and discuss their problems or concerns. You may also need to spend time visiting constituents in their homes. On top of this you will be dealing with letters, emails and phone calls from constituents. When dealing with casework or council business you may need to meet with council staff. These meetings, and any visits to council offices, may need to take place during the working day.

    Then there are council and scrutiny meetings. Scrutiny is the crucial process of looking at the work and decisions of the executive. As well as the close examination of councillors, it can also involve the community and interested parties including local health services. Handled well, scrutiny procedures can stimulate real local involvement in how the council manages and delivers its business. Councillors may also sit on quasi-judicial committees, for example the planning committee, which takes non-political decisions on planning applications. The number and length of these meetings varies from council

    to council. If you are a member of a political party you will also be expected to attend political group meetings, party training and other events.

    For more information about the roles and responsibilities and how you would go about carrying out the duties of councillor, please refer to the Be a Councillor Rotherham: learning and development workbook.

    What do councils do? Depending on the type of council, local councils run around 800 services. RMBC has responsibility for services including:

    education and lifelong learning

    social services and public health

    housing and regeneration

    waste collection

    recycling

    roads and street lighting

    arts, sports and culture

    community safety and crime reduction

    environment

    planning and regulation

    tackling disadvantage and building strong, stable communities

    taxing and spending

    transport.

    LRes

    Councillor Mark Sutton (Conservative), Staffordshire County Council

    Since retiring from the Police, Cllr Sutton has worked as an Investigator with the Legal Ombudsman and run his own Handyman business. His whole working life has been about dealing with people, talking to them, helping them solve problems and getting things done, so becoming a councillor was an extension of what hed done in a slightly different way before. His experience was a great help in canvassing, getting elected and then being a County Councillor and subsequently being a Cabinet Support me

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