Town and Parish Councillors are elected every four years. In the case of Ponteland, they are called Town Councillors. They either represent a ward (bigger Councils are divided into wards) or the whole parish area. Ponteland is divided into four wards, North, East, South and West.
They are elected by people who live the area. If a local council (parish or town councils are often referred to as local councils) is divided into wards an election is held in each ward. If the local council doesn’t have wards there is just a single council election. The next parish and town council elections are to be held in May 2021.
Town Councillors are volunteers and receive no financial reward for their role.
Councillors are held accountable by residents for things that happen locally, and they try to make a difference by influencing decisions which affect their community.
Town Councillors may represent a political party but do not have to, they can be independent.
Town Councillors have a duty to attend Council meetings and to ensure that the Council is properly managed.
They must maintain proper standards of behaviour as an elected representative of their community. They must also abide by the Code of Conduct which means that they must act openly and in the public interest. Town Councillors must not do anything that brings the council into disrepute.
Their three main areas of work are summarised below:
Decision making – through attending meetings and committees with other elected members, councillors decide which activities to support, where money should be spent and what services should be delivered.
Monitoring – Councillors make sure that their decisions lead to efficient and effective services by keeping an eye on how well things are working.
Getting involved locally – As representatives of the community, Councillors have responsibilities towards their electors and local organisations. The day to day work of a councillor may include:
· Going to meetings of local organisations in addition to Council meetings
· Going to meetings of bodies that affect the wider community (Police, County council etc)
· Taking up issues on behalf of members of the public, such as making representations to other bodies such as the County Council.
· Meeting with individuals in their homes.