The role of the councillor

Neil McGarvey, Fraser Stewart

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Abstract

Local councillors play an integral role in the democratic process. Other than nationally elected members of parliament, councils remain in many states the only collective body subject to universal, democratic elections, and exist as a voter's most immediate link to governing power. Functions carried out by councillors, and the role they play within communities and local government, are thus essential to strong, localised democracy, despite claims that councillors are 'amateurish' or local politics incidental to an ever-globalising world. Indeed, such criticisms habitually ignore the intertwined elements of local, national and international decision-making, and in turn the crucial role councillors’ play in ensuring citizens and local interests remain represented therein. Without councillors, democracy overall would find itself drastically weakened, and the gulf between citizen and power widened. Local councillors thus provide a first port of call for citizens to have a say in the running of their towns, cities and communities where their voice would be lessened if national legislatures were the only forum of representation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of International Local Government
EditorsRichard Kerley, Joyce Liddle, Pamela T. Dunning
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Chapter5
Pages54-69
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks

Keywords

  • local government
  • representation
  • local councillor

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