What time commitment is involved?
It is difficult to say the exact time commitment needed but it should not be underestimated. Representing residents, and attending committees and meetings will take up your time. However people with full time jobs and family commitments do manage. It is challenging but also rewarding. You will need the support of your family and friends.
Residents will contact you by telephone, letter and email and may not call at what you consider to be a reasonable hour. They will ask for your help with their problems. You may also need to spend time visiting residents in their homes or at the town hall.
If you take on more advanced roles as a councillor, for example, chairing a committee, becoming a group secretary or group leader or even a portfolio holder, the demands on your time will increase.
Each committee has reports which will be sent to you before the meeting for you to read and consider. Some committees are more involved than others. Members of the Development Management Committee, which deals with planning, may wish to visit the site of the proposed application and there will also be letters from residents to read. Members of scrutiny committees also often have to read and think about background research done by council officers.
Some committees meet more often than others, for example the Development Management Committee meets every three weeks, other committees meet monthly. Some may only meet when they are needed.
Committees generally start at 7pm or 7.30pm and can last between 1½ to 2 hours.
If you are a member of a political party, there will be extra meetings and work that you will be expected to be involved with. You may be asked to attend training or produce a local newsletter and distribute it to your residents.
Managing and prioritising your time will be a key skill whilst you are a councillor. But the rewards of helping people and making a difference in the community and to the town keep people coming back to stand for this role.