Personal Site of

Councillor Ian Sherwood


Photograph of Councillor Ian Sherwood
Councillor Ian Sherwood

Correspondence address:
c/o Elizabeth House
Walpole Loke
NR19 1EE

Mobile: 07795 236878


what does a councillor do?


Becoming a councillor is a rewarding form of public service that puts people in a position where they can make a difference to the quality of other people's daily lives. However, being an effective councillor requires hard work.

Every day, councillors have to balance the needs and interests of their residents, voters, political parties and the council. All these groups will make legitimate demands on the councillor's time on top of their personal responsibilities to family, workplace and friends.

It is therefore important that councillors understand their role so they can perform responsibly and effectively for the council and maintain the quality oftheir personal lives.

The councillor's role takes in:

  • representing the ward
  • decision-making
  • policy and strategy review and development
  • overview and scrutiny
  • regulatory duties
  • community leadership and engagement.

Representing the ward

The primary role of a councillor is to represent their ward and the people who live in it. They also have a responsibility to communicate council policy and decisions to people in the ward. Members of political parties may find that their party offers advice and guidance on doing this. See the section on representing the ward.


Councillors have a central part to play in making decisions that impact on their ward and across the whole area covered by their council. They will be involved in decision-making through:

  • full council
  • regulatory committees such as planning control or licensing
  • local voluntary organisation management
  • sitting on boards and as school governors
  • membership of partnership boards
  • being employers of staff on appointments
  • panels and disciplinary or grievance appeals.

Policy and strategy

Councillors influence and determine the development and review of the council's policy and strategy. They contribute to this through their:

  • role in overview and scrutiny
  • involvement in advisory groups and partnerships
  • interaction with executive members
  • role as a representative on local community groups
  • role on area forums and committees
  • case work
  • membership of a political group.

Overview and scrutiny

Councillors have always been required to scrutinise the council and the overview and scrutiny function is a natural extension of representation. The process has recently become more clearly defined and distinct and the role of councillors now includes:

  • providing a check on the activities of the executive through call-in powers
  • monitoring and reviewing policy formulation and implementation
  • policy development
  • quality review
  • scrutiny of external bodies and agencies.

Regulatory duties

Local authorities are not just service providers, they also act as regulators. This involves councillors in quasi-judicial roles on special committees appointed directly by the council, such as planning and licensing committees. Most councils arrange special training for councillors undertaking these quasi-judicial responsibilities. In these roles, councillors are required to act independently and are not subject to the party group whip.

Community leadership and engagement

Community leadership is at the heart of modern local government and councils are taking on new
responsibilities for working in partnership with other organisations, including the voluntary and community sector, to improve services and the quality of life of citizens.

(Taken from IDeA Councillors Guide 2006-2007)

Page updated: 26/03/2008, 15:44

This site has been provided to the Councillor by Breckland District Council (BDC) in accordance with an acceptable use policy. A copy of the policy is available on request from BDC. The website is intended as a means to enable the Councillor to communicate with his or her constituents and interested parties. The site cannot be used for party political purposes or contain offensive, discriminatory or defamatory content. The information within the site is supplied and managed solely by the Councillor. The Councillor is responsible for what he or she places in the website. BDC cannot accept responsibility for any loss or inconvenience caused by reliance on inaccurate material contained in this site.