The Councillor’s role

As a democratically-elected local representative a councillor has a unique and privileged position and the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Representing your local area

A councillor’s primary role is to represent their ward or division and the people who live in it. Councillors provide a bridge between the community and the council.

As well as being an advocate for local residents and signposting them to the right people or services, they will need to keep them informed about the issues that affect them.

In order to understand and represent local views and priorities there needs to be strong relationships built and to encourage local people to make their views known. Good communication and engagement is central to being an effective councillor.

As a local councillor, residents will expect them to:

  • respond to their queries and investigate their concerns (casework)
  • communicate council decisions that affect them
  • know their locality and be aware of any problems
  • know and work with representatives of local organisations, interest groups and businesses
  • represent electors’ views at council meetings
  • lead local campaigns on the elector’s 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 – to develop a vision for their local area, working collaboratively to improve services and quality of life for citizens. Councillors have a lead role in this process.

Developing council policy

Councils need clear strategies and policies to enable them to achieve their vision for the area, make the best use of resources and deliver services that meet the needs of local communities.

As a local councillor they will contribute to the development of these policies and strategies, bringing the views and priorities of the local area to the debate.


Town Councils do not have the power to approve or reject planning applications as they are not planning authorities.

They do, however, have to be consulted by the Local Planning Authority as part of the process, and as part of this consultation, Councillors will be asked to comment on the planning applications

Code of conduct and standards

A councillor will be required to adhere to the council’s agreed code of conduct for elected members. Each council adopts its own code, but it must be based on the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s These were developed by the Nolan Committee.

Which looked at how to improve ethical standards in public life, and are often referred to as the Nolan principles. 

Information for Prospective Town Councillors

Fordingbridge Town Council is the parish authority for Fordingbridge Town and has a estimated population of 6000 and 2920 dwellings. The Town Council comprises of 12 Councillors who are elected for a 4 year term.

The next ordinary Town Council election will be held on 04 May 2023. Councillors who are elected at a subsequent by-election or are co-opted to fill a casual vacancy during the course of the 4 year term will hold office until the end of the 4 year term.

Town Councils are the fourth tier of government after parliament, the County Council and the District Council and its legal powers are granted to it and regulated by various government acts.

The Town Council supplements the provision of local government services in Fordingbridge and provides a range of facilities and services, while promoting and representing the town with other national and statutory bodies.

For example, the Town Council acts as a consultee and lobbying force with both the County and District Council putting forward the wishes and needs of the local community.