On behalf of the LGA, congratulations on being elected as a local councillor. This position offers you a unique opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the people and communities you represent.
Right now, local government is facing unprecedented change. There will be challenges ahead and we cannot underestimate the potential impact that this will have on the people we represent. We know that the services people tend to take for granted may not always be possible in the future financial climate. There will, no doubt, be some very difficult decisions ahead for us all to make. What I do know is that local government will work together and, as always, will do everything possible to ensure that those who rely on vital everyday services get the help and support they need.
As councillors, we know how to get things done. The vast majority of the public trust us to do the ‘heavy lifting' when things get tough and to deliver on our commitments. Councils are currently spending over £90 billion a year on local services, ensuring that millions of people are educated, cared for, supported and have somewhere to live. It is inevitable that some services may change over the coming years, but that change needn't be negative. It should drive further improvement. Working with communities to be part of that change will make a real difference to future generations.
As you begin your career as a councillor, the LGA has a range of services that we can offer you to help develop your new role, including this guidance booklet. With over 400 local authorities in membership across England and Wales, we have a vast network of peers and expertise to help you.
The LGA is politically led and cross-party and works by consensus with and on behalf of councils to give local government a strong, credible voice nationally. We lobby and campaign in Westminster and Brussels on behalf of councils in England and Wales. As a local councillor, you can be at the forefront of the debate if you wish to. I hope you find it both an exciting and positive position to be in.
Lord Porter of Spalding, CBE
Chairman of the LGA