When I was asked to stand for election as a councillor in the London Borough of Sutton I thought it would be wise to carry out some research to get an idea of the tasks that make up a Sutton councillor’s job. I discussed the role with some existing councillors and found a lot of information on the internet, including the Sutton Council web site.
I was surprised at the number and variety of roles each councillor has to take on including:
- membership of two council committees,
- substitute member of a third committee,
- membership of the ward’s Local Committee (Cheam North and Worcester Park Local Committee in our case),
- membership of committees for external organisations,
- ward surgeries (held periodically at a local venue to allow ward residents to talk to a councillor),
- dealing with issues individual ward residents may have (known as ‘casework’),
- keeping an eye out for local problems, reporting them, then checking on progress.
In addition to this a councillor needs to pro-actively engage with local organisations to understand them better, find out what problems they face and consider ways to help them.
I have only just started to ascend the steep learning curve so I am sure there are tasks not listed above that will come to light over time – watch this space!