Headlines: September 25th, 2006



Local Government Minister Phil Woolas will take part this evening in a debate on the role of the modern local councillor. The discussion, at the Labour party Conference, is one of a series organised by the Local Government Information Unit and chaired by its new chief executive, Tim Thorogood.

At tonight’s session speakers will also include Sadiq Kahn MP, Jane Roberts, who was formerly leader of the London Borough of Camden and now serves on the Governance Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and David Walker, Editor of the Guardian Public Magazine. It follows a similar debate at last week’s Liberal democrat conference and will be followed by an event at the Conservative Party conference next week.

The LGIU says topics for the debate will include redefining the councillor’s role, ways to attract more candidates and how to build the capacity of councillors to fulfil their new role. Under the title “A New Model Councillor: Place Shaper, Neighbourhood Champion or Functionary?” it will attempt to answer a series of questions. Starting from what the role of the modern councillor should be, the talks will move on to look at how that role should evolve and be defined for the future, how councillors’ capacity to fulfill that role can be enhanced, ways in which non executive councillors are able to influence decisions for their communities and finally how authorities can attract more people to take on the role of councillors.