Call for the role of parish councillor to be “sexed up” after concerns that not enough people are attracted to the job
- Credit: Archant
The job of a parish councillor is not always the most glamorous one – but now there are calls for the job to be “sexed up” in order to attract more people to the role.
Parish councillors are often the first point of contact for many people looking for help from their local representatives in government.
They take care of many of the smaller, but essential, jobs in the day to day running of communities.
Whether maintaining the village green or war memorial, or commenting on planning applications, parish councillors have a hand in many public affairs.
But there is concern that not enough people are being attracted to the job.
You may also want to watch:
Today (September 4), Cllr Peter Topping, former leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said more needed to be done to get people to think about becoming parish councillors.
He said parish councils suffered from an image problem, asking whether the role could be “sexed up” to attract more people.
- 1 Man found dead in March
- 2 Driver leaves girl 'very shaken' after ploughing into car
- 3 Brother pays tribute to 'strongest character I've ever known'
- 4 Father-of-five murdered due to 'drug deal dispute gone wrong'
- 5 Over 100 modern slavery victims rescued in Cambridgeshire
- 6 HMO or flats divide councils but what happens to rest of hotel?
- 7 7 of the best pumpkin picking locations in Cambridgeshire
- 8 WATCH: Flying Scotsman steams through Cambridgeshire Fens
- 9 'Loving, caring family man' dies in hospital weeks after A141 crash
- 10 County passes funding of new £25m Wisbech school back to the Government
“I think there is a perception they are too obsessed with the small things,” said Cllr Topping. “We all know that is not the case.”
Cllr Topping said people think parish councils “debate what colour to paint the cricket pavilion”, when their actual roles involve considering planning applications, bidding for and deciding on where money should be spent, putting together road safety schemes and producing neighbourhood plans.
Cllr Bridget Smith, the current leader of the council, agreed. She said that “leaving out the sex bit” more could be done to encourage more people into positions on their local councils.
Speaking on Twitter “Trouble up t’Mill Road” said parish councils “are close to the community, generally provide so much extra which ‘higher’ tiers of govt are unable to do, & are frequently able to muster additional volunteer support.”
Some said parish council positions should be attractive to people from more diverse backgrounds, saying that, because the role is largely voluntary and unpaid, often only “time-rich” people with independent sources of income could participate.
Twitter user “Timmy Two wheels” wrote: “I do think it’s important to engage younger people and those from different backgrounds.
“There’s often a good gender balance but most still older, white, middle-class.”