MPs to examine the role councillors play in their communities

27 March 2012


New Inquiry and Call for evidence

Councillors and the community

The Communities and Local Government Committee has decided to conduct an inquiry into the role councillors play in their communities and calls for submissions.

In the most recent National Census of Local Authority Councillors 2010 councillors were asked about their work as councillors, their views on a range of issues and their personal background. The census revealed that:

  • 88% of councillors cited a desire to serve the community as their reason for wanting to become a councillor.
  • 67% of councillors intend to stand for re-election at the end of their term in office and 83% would recommend taking on the role to others.
  • 68% of councillors were male, 31% were female. The proportion of female councillors has increased from 28% in 1997.
  • The average age of councillors has increased from 55 in 1997 to 60 in 2010.
  • 96% of councillors were white and 4% came from an ethnic minority background.
  • On average, councillors spend 23 hours per week on council and political business. 15 per cent of councillors spend more than 35 hours per week on council and political business.
  • Of those who are employed or self-employed, 69 % work in the private sector. 37% of employed or self-employed councillors described themselves as having a managerial background and 33% as professional.

The Committee invites submissions from interested parties on the work and activities of the councillors elected to principal authorities (county, district, unitary, metropolitan and London borough councils) in England. To assist those submitting memoranda the Committee suggests they may wish to cover the following areas:

  • the role of councillors as leaders of communities and neighbourhoods;
  • recruitment and diversity of councillors – and the implications for representation and local democracy;
  • skills, training and support for councillors;
  • the practicalities of being a councillor – including time commitment, time off work, casework and remuneration;
  • localising decision making to divisions, wards and neighbourhoods;
  • oversight, facilitation and accountability; and
  • strategic leadership, governance and responsibilities.

Memoranda addressing any or all of these issues, in accordance with the guidelines set out below, are invited by midday on Wednesday, 23 May 2012.

Each submission should:

  1. be no more than 4,000 words in length;
  2. begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  3. be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible; and
  4. be accompanied by a covering email containing the name and contact details of the individual or organisation submitting evidence.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked "councillors and the community".

It is helpful, for Data Protection purposes, for contact details not to be included in the text of submissions, but sent separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website.

 Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work may be included.
  • Memoranda submitted should be kept confidential until formally accepted by the Committee. The Committee has authorised the publication by witnesses of their evidence, but such publication should await the formal acknowledgement of acceptance of the submission as evidence to the Committee.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

Image: iStockphoto 

Share this page