Representing Local Communities
There are various ways in which you can play your part in your Community Council. Each community council must have a Chairperson, a Treasurer and a Secretary – the office bearers – and these roles carry the most responsibility. The office bearers, as elected members representing their local communities are responsible for the efficient and effective operation of the community council.
This doesn’t mean to say that the office bearers must do all the work, but they are responsible for making sure that everything is done according to the Scheme of Establishment for Community Councils.
All members of the community council are equally responsible for the community council’s decisions and actions and may take on additional activities in support of the community council.
The office bearers’ roles are described below, followed by an outline of other potential roles within a Community Council.
The chairperson can make a massive difference to the success of a community council. Meetings are key to the Community Council making decisions on what its priorities are and what work it has to do. The chairperson is responsible for ensuring that discussions are productive and run on-time, and that clear action points are set.
The Treasurer is responsible for handling the community council’s finances. It is his or her responsibility to ensure that the finances are kept healthy and the community council does not get into debt. The Treasurer must oversee all financial administration and transactions of the community council, and make decisions regarding these.
The Secretary ensures the smooth running of the community council by organising meetings, setting the agenda and keeping minutes and records.ﾠSecretaries also ensure effective communication between committee members.
Community councils might want to consider if there is a need to create a specific role in response to an area/project that needs a lot of attention. For example, the committee may wish to create the post of Engagement Officer where there is a need to reach out to a specific group that is under-represented in the community council (e.g. young people, ethnic minorities or disabled people). Other roles that might be created to support the work of the community council, depending on its circumstances are:
You don’t have to take on a specific role to be involved in your community council. All members play an important part by thinking creatively about what you can do together to improve the lives of local citizens. If you do take on a role, then you don’t need to feel restricted to only doing this – the main role of the committee is to support each other and work together to make things happen.