Two new unitary Councils means arrangements are even more local. Our proposal creates a new opportunity for more local involvement in decision making and true local accountability. There is a need for local ward councillors to reclaim their community leadership role as the accepted and mandated voice of citizens. Councils supported by local councillors work hard to stimulate good local economic growth and engage with local communities encouraging them to reduce the demand on services and to step into the breach left by the withdrawal of publicly provided services.
Councils, and councillors, will need new approaches to do this successfully, such as utilising less formal social networks, participatory democracy, better engagement with young people and a broader influencing role, rather than the more formal traditional structures associated with the public sector.
There are crucial roles for councillors not only in being civic entrepreneurs but also in providing visible civic leadership to enable and support the work of others. Councillors work hard to foster strong relationships and within local communities through partnerships, with Parish Councils, Town
Councils and Community Associations; through their service on the boards of local voluntary organisations; their membership of local Business Improvement District Boards and through their wider engagement within their communities to identify individuals from all walks of life, and organisations from all sectors who want to play a role and to inspire others to do the same and more.
They need recognition and support, to help them enhance their role as key influencers and door openers to other community leaders who can make things happen. Businesses create wealth, not the state, but local government can create the conditions for enterprise to thrive by engaging the private sector and universities to develop their distinctive economic assets. The challenge is to create a new relationship between the citizen and the state, rebuild trust and ensure good local integration between health, social care and other services.