Roles and responsibilities

Members of Community councils are elected by the local community. Even if, due to a shortage of nominations, your "seat" was uncontested, and no actual election took place, your Constitution provides for nomination and election. If properly nominated, by two local residents who are on the Electoral Register, you are as much elected as would be the case in a contested election.

As a member you may attend meetings, speak and vote, as of right. You serve for the term allowed by your Community Council's Constitution. As a Community Council member you should represent all the community, not any specific group, although inevitably, different members have particular areas of interest. Such diversity can add to the collective strength of the Community Council.

Most Community Councils invite community Police officers and others, such as council officers, to attend and speak to the meeting by special invitation. Such "guests" can make an important contribution to the meeting.

As a new member of a community council it is important that you understand the role you will play in your community from the outset. This means not simply offering your own views and opinions on local issues, or taking decisions that are based only on your own self-interest.

As a community council member, you need to find out and represent the views of your community. In practice, this involves discussing issues with people in the community  in order to clarify their views and measure the strength of their feelings on different topics.

At some point you may find some conflict between your personal views and interests and those of the community that you represent. If this happens, it is important to present all views in a balanced way, stating the most widely held views.

The task of any Community Council is to identify the needs and aspirations of its community and to take decisions that will lead to appropriate action in that community. At some point, this might involve setting priorities on the competing or conflicting needs of different sections of the community. This means taking a balanced view of your community's needs and aspirations and giving a fair hearing to representatives from different interest groups in your community.