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Information for Councillors

In this section you’ll find

What’s it all about?

This event is for young people to learn about local democracy and how it works. But it’s more than teaching them about democracy. Young people actually get to take part in democracy. They are given a voice, and that will hopefully stay with them forever. So your job is to inspire the voters of tomorrow. ‘I’m a Councillor’ is a fun, exciting online event, with a track record of successfully engaging thousands of young people and hundreds of councillors. This will be our eighth year proudly supporting Local Democracy Week.

I’m a Councillor… Why should I do it?

  • Because it makes a difference,
  • Because you’ll enjoy it and
  • Because you’ll learn from the experience.

I’m a Councillor… What do I have to do?

You, and up to five other members from your council, are competing to be ‘Youth Champion’ for your area. You put up profiles, about yourself, and about what you think the council should do for young people in your area. For two weeks young people in the area quiz you and vote for their favourite.

You’re the lynchpin. Young people are on the site to read what you have to say and to discover what you’re about. If they like what they read then they’ll vote for you, if they don’t then you’ll be evicted quickly.

Experience has shown us that above all young people want someone who will listen and answer their questions – promptly and honestly.

You can:-

  • Put up a manifesto
  • Answer questions throughout the event
  • Take part in online chats with students

I’m a Councillor… But I don’t know anything about computers! Will I be able to do it?

Don’t worry, we’ve made it very easy, and full instructions are given in your briefing pack. Ideally you’d be able to use computers to at least a basic level, but we’ve had complete novices take part with no problems. If you can type (even with one finger!) and you have access to a computer and the internet, then you can do it.

I’m a Councillor… How long will it take?

You should allow about 30 minutes a day to answer questions. It may take longer if the event really takes off in your area. Live chats usually last about 45 minutes and you might expect one of these a day. It will really depend how much take up there is from local schools and youth groups.

You can build on the event as much as you want. In many areas councillors visit schools who are taking part, this helps build excitement, and can win you votes…

But isn’t it just a gimmick?

No! There’s no reason democracy can only happen in council chambers. Young people often care very much about local issues and political questions, but are put off by political structures – committee meetings and points of order. They use the internet a lot and often chat online to their peers. By taking politics into an environment young people feel comfortable with you are meeting them half way. This makes it much easier for them to ask questions, get talking and get involved.

I’m a Councillor… When do I do it?

The 2010 event goes live on October 4th and finishes during Local Democracy Week on October 15th (20th September – 1st October in Scotland). Beforehand you will be able to go onto the site to post your profile and find your way around.
We’d encourage you to put your profile up as soon as possible (you can always change it!) because it gives teachers a chance to introduce the event before it starts and they can get a lot more out of it. Students in your area will be wanting to meet you!

Good luck!