The role of a Cornwall Councillor

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

Cornwall Council Elections Thursday 6 May 2021

Councillors have a variety of roles to juggle where you have to balance the needs and interests of your:

  • local community
  • political group (if you have one)
  • the Council

You are involved in making decisions and monitoring a range of Council services.  You have a role in deciding how they are provided, funded and prioritised.

The role of an elected Councillor can be broken down into five main parts:

Representing your local area

The primary role is to represent your electoral division and those who live in it.  You will act as a bridge between your community and the Council.  As well as being an advocate for local residents and signposting them to the right people at the council. You will need to keep them informed about the issues that affect them.

To understand and represent local views and priorities, you will need to:

  • build strong relationships and
  • encourage local people to make their views known and engage with you and the council

Good communication and engagement is key to being an effective councillor.

As a local councillor, your residents will expect you to:

  • respond to their queries and investigate their concerns (casework)
  • communicate council decisions that affect them
  • know your patch and be aware of any problems
  • know and work with representatives of local organisations, interest groups and businesses
  • represent their views at council meetings
  • lead local campaigns on their behalf

Community Leadership

Community leadership is at the heart of modern local government. Councils work in partnership with local communities and organisations including:

  • the public
  • voluntary
  • community
  • and private sectors 

The council develops a vision for their local area, working together to improve services and quality of life for residents.

Developing council policy

Councils have strategies and policies to enable them to:

  • achieve their vision for the area
  • make the best use of resources
  • deliver services that meet the needs of local communities

Councillors contribute to the development of strategies and policies. Representing the views and priorities of your local area.

How this is done depends on the committees and forums you are appointed to. However, the council's policy framework must be signed off by full council, on which every councillor sits.

Planning and regulation

Councils are not just service providers, they also act as regulators. Some Councillors are appointed to sit on a planning and regulatory committee. They will consider issues such as planning applications and licenses for pubs and restaurants.  They also make sure businesses comply with the law. In these roles, councillors have to act independently.  They are not subject to the group or political party whip and are given special training.

Code of conduct and standards

As a councillor you will be required to adhere to the Council's code of conduct for elected members. Details of Cornwall Council’s code of conduct can be found on the Council’s website. The code of conduct sets out the standard of behaviour required by Councillors including:

  • honesty
  • integrity
  • selflessness
  • objectivity
  • respect for others

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