What is a County Councillor?

by Steff on 21 July, 2021

Norfolk County Council has 84 elected members, each representing an electoral division of up to 10,000 voters. Every four years the people of each division elect one councillor to be a member of Norfolk County Council.

In May just gone, I was reelected as your Liberal Democrat councillor for Melton Constable division – an area made up of 22 parishes in between Holt, Fakenham and Aylsham.

The County Council Norfolk County Council looks after all sorts of things that affect all our lives.

In some cases these might seem like straightforward, day-to-day things like Highways maintenance, which you might struggle to believe is political. But think about the main road into a town: who says what the speed limit should be? How does the County Council balance road repair and road safety? Even the definition of a village is something the politicians in charge of the County Council get to decide.

Other parts of the council’s work might affect people at different points in their lives. Only a few of us will be dealing with Adult Social Services at any one time, but nearly half of us are likely to need their help, particularly later in life with things like elderly care. But they also deal with the social, physical and mental wellbeing of all adults across Norfolk – and we’ve been particularly shocked at how badly treated members of Norfolk’s disability community have been by the current politicians on the council.

Although the County Council only runs a few schools still, Children’s Services looks after all education and the social, physical and mental wellbeing of children across Norfolk. It has a statutory duty to protect and promote the welfare of children in need in this area and this is a huge job, where the decisions that are taken by politicians can have a profound and permanent effect on young people’s life chances. At any time, as councillors, we are corporate parents to nearly 2,000 looked-after children in Norfolk who can’t live with their parents for a variety of reasons.
The way we treat our most vulnerable reflects on who we are as individuals and as a society.

These are by far the largest departments – but the County Council also looks after cultural services, economic development, environment and planning, the Fire Service (although all of us on the Council, across all parties, had to fight to stop the Fire Service being taken into the control of the Police and Crime Commissioner), public health and business support and development.

In many cases, as Liberal Democrats, we believe the council needs to do more, and build on the work its officers are already doing. In others, it needs a complete re-think. But in every sense, we think Norfolk County Council needs to take the lead and set out a bold, long-term vision for the future of our county, that serves the people of Norfolk now and in the long term.

If you’re interested in getting involved, and helping us make this happen, please get in touch!

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