Politics is a confusing and busy place to be – but it doesn’t always need to be. That’s why we’ve got you covered with a guide to understanding local councils, including what they do and why they matter.

What are local councils?

Local councils are a group of elected members of the community who serve people in certain designated areas. The areas local councils serve are divided into what are called ‘wards’. Councils will control smaller areas than an MP’s have a constituency, but a constituency is made up of different wards all together.

How do local councils work?

Basically, most of England is made up of a two-tier local government (local council) system. This means there are different sections of the council: the county and the district sections. Both have their own responsibilities for what is happening in their local area, including education and taxation.

Each ward has a councillor, and the number of councillors in each local government authority is decided by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

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The role of a councillor

To become a councillor, you don’t need to have any specific qualifications, but knowledge of politics and the local area is really essential. When councillors are elected, it is for four years. However, not all councillors are elected at the same time, and sometimes you may be asked to vote for three councillors at once.

The role of a councillor is to listen to the issues that the local community have and to resolve them, using the council budget or their political expertise. Councillors are also in charge of the upkeep of an area, including bin collection, mowing council land grass, funding and running local state schools and taxation.

Most importantly, the role of a councillor is to represent the people of the ward.

You can find your local councillor and how to contact them here: www.gov.uk/find-your-local-councillors