England & Wales

Seminar: Being an effective councillor: Making a difference – doing it your way


Are you a new or recently elected councillor finding your feet? How do you keep your head above water? How do you plan to make your mark? This workshop looks at roles and objectives that you, as a councillor, might focus on for you, your council, your community.
This is an interactive session to help you explore and develop your priorities, including:

  • different roles councillors can use to ‘make a difference’
  • recent key reports on the changing expectations of councillors
  • personal targets – including maintaining voter interest, embedding achievements, passing on the baton

This event will seek to involve participants throughout the session in discussing and developing their views.


10:00 Registration and refreshments

10:15 Introduction to the day:

  • what’s an effective councillor
  • making an impact
  • plan for the day

10:30 Your own experiences so far

  • finding your feet
  • getting to know your council and your ward
  • community engagement
  • staying focused and making a difference?

11:00 What’s needed? current pressures/priorities

  • housing
  • citizenship
  • climate change
  • and…potholes? parking?

11:15 Coffee break

11:45 Context – changing expectations of councillors

  • Strong and Prosperous Communities
  • Representing the Future
  • Councillors on the Frontline

12:15 Changing roles and styles

  • ‘Resident fixer’
  • ‘Community facilitator’
  • ‘Scrutiny and guardianship’
  • ‘Activist’
  • ‘Executive and Leadership’

12:45 Lunch

13:45 What kind of councillor do you want to be? What kind of councillor are you?

  • Discussion

14:00 How can you make a difference?

  • Opportunities to help your ward
  • Opportunities to help your council
  • Manifesto commitments; surveys/surgeries; community feedback
  • Quick wins; campaigns; brokering/facilitation

14:15 Maximising your impact

  • setting goals and timelines
  • maximising council support and VS collaborations
  • messaging before, during, after
  • steering groups/critical friends
  • feedback and review

14:45 Making plans – small group work

  • Developing your/colleagues’ ideas
  • Presentations
  • Discussion

15:30 Making a difference – key points

15:45-16:00 Tea and Farewells


Who should attend?

For councillors in their first year or so since election and/or wanting to review their impact – and for member services staff supporting them – to develop councillors’ thinking/plans for how to make a difference.

Chris Naylor was a Ward Councillor and Cabinet Member (Housing) for 2006-14 in LB Camden, and in parallel invited on to the Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Backbench Committee, meeting weekly with Ministers. Before that he had a series of leadership and development roles in community and voluntary sector organisations, including the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation, the Rainer Foundation (now Catch 22), and engage (promoting access to art and heritage). As LGiU’s Head of Partnerships to 2017, He has had close contact with rural districts, counties, mets and unitaries to add to his direct experience of London Boroughs.