The report of the seventh census of local authority councillors in England has been published.
The census provides the most comprehensive 'snapshot' of local government representation and analyses of trends over time.
The census asks councillors about:
- their work as councillors
- their views on a range of issues
- their personal background.
The census ensures that the LGA has accurate information about councillors, and how they carry out their work, and hence receive the best possible support. Accurate data of this nature aids central and local government and political parties in the development of strategies and policies. Some of the main findings are summarised below:
Work as a councillor
- Councillors spent, on average, 25 hours per week on council/political business, compared to around 22 hours over 2004-2010.
- 53 per cent of councillors held one or more positions of leading responsibility within the council, and 36 per cent were members of local partnership groups or boards (such as Health and Wellbeing Boards).
- Councillors rated PCs or laptops, council e-mail addresses and smartphones as the most useful resources.
Issues and views of councillors
- 90 per cent of councillors cited a desire to serve the community as their reason for wanting to become a councillor.
- 70 per cent thought that listening to local views was the most important thing for councillors to do, while 65 per cent said that representing local residents' views to the council was the most important thing for them to do.
- 65 per cent of councillors intended to stand for re-election at the end of their term in office and 82 per cent would recommend taking on the role to others.
Personal background of councillors
- 67 per cent of councillors were male, 32 per cent were female. The proportion of female councillors has increased from 29 per cent in 2001.
- The average age of councillors has increased from 55 in 1997 to 60 in 2013.
- 96 per cent of councillors were white and 4 per cent came from an ethnic minority background.
Date: May 2014
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