WITH the Local Elections right around the corner, long-standing Kingsteignton town councillor, Bill Thorne, shares his thoughts on what life is like as an elected representative of the people.

'After more than a decade as a Town Councillor and two challenging terms as a Teignbridge District Councillor for the Kingsteignton West Ward I have learnt a lot about what the role of a councillor must include, what it could include and then, perhaps, what it should include, writes Cllr Thorne.

'Everyone imagines what it should include and how it should help them overcome any local problem, come what may and many benefit from what it could include by the councillor assisting with issues beyond their normal responsibilities and working with other councillors and council officers to try to influence the delivery of suitable solutions.

'Of course, I have enjoyed the years of meeting residents, listening to their issues, agreeing courses of action, involving others where required to deliver on their issues or influence the Council’s decisions through making a case for the council to consider.

'Everyone benefits from an open and honest approach and transparency in all activities of both the councillor and the council - this is something of what the role must include as I see it.

'At all times there are the basic requirements of scrutiny, through asking questions in council often after a massive amount of personal research to see that the rules, also agreed by the council, are being followed correctly for the benefit of residents.

'Sadly, as we all know, there is never enough money to do all everyone needs or wants and this is where the councillor needs to know the ward and what on balance might suit those residents and then the rest of the council area for the better, going forward, whilst considering fellow councillors’ opinions throughout before the final decisions are made.

'It is an interesting and challenging role at whatever level to take on and one that requires your real commitment and deep interest in helping others within the community.'