Join Liskeard Town Council
Have you ever thought about being a town councillor? Elections are being held this May (subject to Covid restrictions) and we are encouraging anyone who would like to represent their community to come forward and stand for election.
Town Councillors are people elected to the Town Council to represent their local community – you do not need to be a member of a political party. We need all different types of people so that the Town Council reflects the community it serves, so whatever your age, background or skills you could be the perfect person, you just need some time, enthusiasm and commitment.
The work our council does is both exciting and rewarding. An integral part of this work is the job councillors do: engaging with local people, groups and businesses to find out their needs; making decisions on the services and projects the council should take forward; and getting involved to ensure services are meeting the community’s needs.
There has been a recent review of local government boundaries and changes will come into effect at the upcoming election. Liskeard will now have 2 areas rather than 3 but will still have 15 town councillors, there will be 10 councillors from Liskeard Central and 5 councillors from Liskeard South.
What’s it Really Like Being a Town Councillor?
We asked some of the current councillors about their experiences serving on the Council:
Why did you want to become a town councillor?
- I’m really proud of my town and, as a parent, felt very passionately about making sure it was a town where there were really good opportunities for future generations.
- The town was welcoming when we moved here and as we have the intention of making this our forever home I wanted to support the community in some way and when an election to the Town Council was announced I thought this was a good way to get more involved in my new home town and work with other people to help grow the economy for the benefit of all people living in Liskeard
- I wanted to work together with other people and organisations to make positive changes in the town. I wanted to make the Town Council more open and responsive.
- I passionately believe in Liskeard , I worked in the town and listened to the aspirations of the residents I thought I could usefully contribute to the Towns development for future generations, we are merely caretakers for the next generation.
What do you enjoy most about the role of a town councillor?
- I came to the council with no technical knowledge at all. I really really enjoy planning and have been very fortunate to hold the role of vice chair of the planning committee for the last 2 years. During my time as a councillor our neighbourhood plan has come into force and it has been wonderful to see it work really well when planning decisions have been made.
- Looking at and responding to new ideas for economic development and to make Liskeard a better place.
- Making connections with and between other organisations so we can jointly use our different resources to achieve things. Being involved in events like the Man Engine, Liskeard Unlocked and Nadelik Lyskerrys/Cornish Christmas.
- Being able to represent the residents of Liskeard.
How do you balance your work as a town councillor with home and work commitments?
- I am a single parent and have 2 young sons. The role does require me to attend evening meetings for the committees I am a member of and for full council. The meetings are regular but not too often that it impacts home life and have been online for the last year.
- You have to be able to organise your time, there are peaks and troughs, especially if you get really involved in a project, but you don’t have to get involved with everything; you balance out your time between, work, family and town.
- Meetings are either in the evenings or at mutually agreed times in the day. In normal times visits and face to face meetings can be combined with town centre shopping and other errands.
- Disciplined organisation
What attributes do you think are important to the role of town councillor?
- I think one of the strongest skills you need for this role is the ability to know that you won’t be able to please everyone. Patience can also sometimes be needed as you learn why some changes take longer then others.
- You must be able to listen and consider and debate and not jump to a viewpoint. People who you may not normally find political affinity with, do have good ideas and if all work together, good results can arise.
- Being good at working with a range of people to make things happen.
- A balance between having ideas and ambitions for the town and being realistic about what is achievable.
- Being a ‘doer’ and not just a decider.
- Patience and persistence.
- Being prepared to learn and develop.
- Being a good listener who can help find consensus.
- Having a good sense of humour!
- Good listening skills.
- Ability to work as a team.
- Organisational skills
How did you manage dealing with topics where you had no previous experience or knowledge?
- I had no council knowledge at all coming into the role. The council provides regular training sessions for lots of different subjects which I have attended. I have found that all the members bring their own experience to decision making which gives a wide range of views and helps us make balanced decisions
- The whole point of the council is that people have different skill sets and experience and themselves can advise other councillors and information is also obtained through advisors to the council and the Town Clerk and Assistant Town Clerk are professionals who understand how the process works and keep the council on track with their advice. You also quickly pick up knowledge needed on a variety of matters through hands on experience.
- Going on training courses, which are provided free to councillors. Asking more experienced councillors and other people. Being open about what I didn’t know and asking for more information. The Town Council staff provide background information to help councillors make decisions.
- Ask questions, read and research.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the Town Council Do?
Most local services are currently provided by Cornwall Council (See Who Does What ), however, Liskeard Town Council are taking over some of the services that had previously been overseen by Cornwall Council.
The Town Council has a relatively small budget and limited powers but we want to make the most of what we can do. We can also influence decisions on behalf of the town, and bring together different people and organisations for the good of the town.
Why Become a Town Councillor?
There can be many reasons why you might want to be a councillor. You may be concerned about your community and want to help improve it by making sure people get the right services and making sure people’s views are heard and taken into account.
How Much Time Does it Take Up?
All councillors are required to attend meetings of the full council. These are currently held monthly on a Tuesday evening at 7.30pm and usually last 2 to 3 hours. In addition, councillors generally serve on a couple of additional committees. Most committees meet every two months except the planning committee which meets every 3 weeks. During the lockdown period all meetings have been taking place remotely over Zoom.
Councillors are also encouraged to volunteer to represent the Town Council at the meetings of local organisations – a list of the current outside bodies can be seen here
How Long Does a Town Councillor Serve For?
Once elected, town councillors sit on the council for a term of four years, although can resign early if circumstances change.
If they then want to stay in the post they can stand for re-election.
Am I Eligible to be a Town Councillor?
To be eligible to become a town councillor when there is a vacancy you will need to meet the criteria below.
- he or she is a British citizen, Commonwealth citizen, citizen of the Irish Republic or a citizen of another European Union State.
- has attained 18 years of age, and
- is either:
- in the register of electors for that Parish/Town or has during the whole of the preceding twelve months
- occupied land as owner or tenant
- had a principal place of work there
- resided in or within 4.8 kilometres of it.
Can I be a Councillor if I Have a Full Time Job?
Absolutely, most meetings take place in the evening so fit around daytime work hours. Employers are also required to give local councillors a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to undertake their duties.
Are Town Councillors Paid?
No, being a town councillor is a voluntary position.
Interested in finding out more?
We are arranging two Zoom sessions where you can meet some of our current councillors and ask any questions you might have. The proposed dates are
- Wednesday 3rd March at 6.30pm
- Thursday 4th March at 11am
If you would like to join these sessions please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the meeting code.
You may also find it useful to attend a council meeting to get an idea of what is involved, these are currently being held remotely via Zoom – to get the meeting code email the relevant clerk.
- Tuesday 23rd February at 7.30pm – Full Council – email email@example.com for Zoom code
- Monday 8th March at 7.30pm – Planning Committee – the Zoom code will be attached to the agenda when it is published one week before the meeting
- Tuesday 9th March at 7.30pm – Communications and Engagement Committee – email firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom code
- Tuesday 16th March at 7.30pm – Facilities Committee – email email@example.com for Zoom code
- Tuesday 20th March at 7.30pm – Special Council – email firstname.lastname@example.org for Zoom code
Application Time Frame
No later than 22nd March 2021 – Request nomination papers from the Election Team at Cornwall Council
No later than 22nd March 2021 – Notice of Election
4pm on 8th April 2021 – Close of Nominations
6th May 2021 – Polling Day
11th June 2021 – Last Day for Delivery of Candidates Expenses Returns
Cornwall Council Elections
On 6th May elections are also taking place for Cornwall Councillors. The boundaries are changing and Liskeard will have 2 councillors going forward rather than the 3 we currently have. If you are interested in standing for Cornwall Council all the information can be found on their Be a Cornwall Councillor webpage