CELEBRATING COUNCILLORS’ COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP ROLE
A new publication has been produced to show how local government is fulfilling its community leadership role by featuring the individual stories of fourteen councillors from around the country. ‘Frontline Councillor. How local politicians make a difference in their communities’, is the work of the Improvement and Development Agency and is available in print and online.
IDeA says the book has been published at a key point in time for local government following the establishment by the Department for Communities and Local Government of the Barriers and Incentives Commission. The Commission’s aim is to make the role of councillors more attractive and accessible and the new publication champions the way local authorities are tackling their community leadership role.
Those featured in ‘Frontline Councillor’ include Sue Adeney from Malvern Hills Council in Worcestershire who is driving the issue of how to tackle climate change in her area and Chris Cheshire from Crawley, who sees her task as acting as the advocate for grass roots groups. She has been a wheelchair user for some ten years and has championed local environment projects. In another example from the north of England, Councillor Mahroof Hussain from Rotherham took on the debt management problems of a resident who was faced with bailiffs on the doorstep.
In a foreword to the publication, journalist and broadcaster Polly Toynbee describes councillors as admirable people who give a huge amount of time and energy to difficult issues, often with little thanks or recognition. She adds, “But the rewards are satisfying, learning how to run local economies that can be the size of a small nation. Just go and meet a few to see how enthusiastic they are about how things work and what makes the police, health service and voluntary organisations flourish in their area.