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      It gives me great pleasure to introduce the 4th edition of the National
      Training Strategy publication “Being a good councillor – Essential
      guidance for parish and town councillors”. This revised edition is a
      welcome and much needed resource primarily for new councillors but
      also for those thinking about becoming a local councillor.

      If you are reading this guide as a new councillor I congratulate you on
      joining the council and thank you for taking up a civic office that can make
      a real difference to the community that your council represents. Now that
      the excitement of being elected or co-opted has subsided you may well
      be wondering what you have done and perhaps feel a little daunted by
      the responsibility you have taken on. You are now part of the democratic
      framework of the country representing the interests of your community
      within a broad landscape of national governance. This guide will help you
      understand more about your role and the difference you can make.

      The Localism Act 2011 is an important part of Government’s ambitions to
      devolve power to the local level. It provides some helpful tools for local
      communities and councils to act on communities’ needs and aspirations.
      For these reasons it is more important than ever to engage with your
      community in a positive and proactive way. This is no time to sit on the fence
      or offer views from the side lines. Local councils need active, interested and
      committed people to serve and get involved in their work. The new section on
      the ‘community rights’ introduced by the Localism Act outlines ways in which
      your council might do this.

      If you are not yet a councillor, but are thinking of putting yourself forward, I
      encourage you to read this guide and to contact your local council to find out

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