Councillor Shadowing Scheme

Introduction

Buckinghamshire’s Councillor Shadowing Scheme provides young people and local councillors with skills, experience, and insight, by giving young people and councillors an opportunity to get to know each other!

From September 2023, young people and local councillors can set up shadowing arrangements.
Youth Voice Bucks is on hand with our Councillor Shadowing Guidance to make sure everyone feels able, confident, and well-equipped to take part.

The scheme supports young people to become active citizens who can help to make Buckinghamshire the best place to live by:
  • Increasing young people’s knowledge of politics and the decision-making processes that they can be a part of
  • Showing young people what being a councillor is like, which may lead to them becoming a councillor
  • Fostering young people’s interest and engagement in elections
  • Developing councillors’ understanding of issues facing young people and upskilling them to work with young people

 

Activities that young people and councillors can take part in together include:
  • About the Council – a meeting for the councillor to introduce the Council’s structure and function, its relation to other authorities such as Town and Parish Councils and central government, and elections
  • Councillor duties – the young person could shadow the councillor doing their resident surgeries, attending meetings, and going on visits
  • Attending council meetings – such as Full Council, Scrutiny and Sub-committee meetings
  • Tour – The councillor could give the young person a tour of Council buildings, their ward, and/or of local venues/projects of interest
  • Training – Young people could come along to councillor training opportunities, for example with the governance team or the Local Government Association
  • Networking – The young person can attend events with the councillor to meet other councillors, council officers, professionals from partner organisations, and other people of interest
  • Young interviewer – The young person could write questions and interview the councillor and/or people of interest about their role and experiences to create a blog

The Councillor Shadowing Guidance Pack

Everything you need to know about the Councillor Shadowing Scheme is available in our Councillor Shadowing Guidance Pack.
You can view our Councillor Shadowing Guidance Pack and resources that go with it by clicking on the links below.

Councillor Shadowing Guidance Pack [PDF, 606KB]

Appropriate Behaviour Guidance [PDF, 276KB]

Agreeing the Terms template [word doc, 50.3KB]

Young People’s Ts&Cs [word doc, 72KB]

Activity log [word doc, 16.8KB]

Feedback template [word doc, 51.6KB]

Risk assessment [PDF, 360KB]

Safeguarding policy [PDF, 637KB]

 

Is it for me?

 

The Councillor Shadowing Scheme is best suited to young people who…
  • are passionate about making a positive difference in their communities
  • have an interest in local politics and democracy
  • like meeting new people and learning new things
  • are aged 13-25

The Councillor Shadowing scheme is an opportunity for young people to develop themselves and their experiences. It can be especially useful for young people building up their CVs and personal statements, and those who are interested in careers in the public sector or Politics.

 

The Councillor Shadowing Scheme is most suited to councillors who…
  • strive to support young people
  • enjoy meeting new people and learning new things
  • are open-minded and creative

The Councillor Shadowing scheme is an opportunity for councillors to inspire and share their professional knowledge with young people, and support young people’s involvement in local democracy. It is also an excellent way for councillors to hear about what it is like to be a young person growing up in the area and what is important for young people today.

 

Time commitment

The Councillor Shadowing Scheme is flexible so that young people and councillors with different commitments, interests, and responsibilities can take part.
When you meet for the first time to discuss the arrangements for the shadowing partnership, you can decide how often you want to meet, how long for, where and when, and how long you want the scheme to last in the first instance.
We recommend you spend between 1 and 4 hours together per month and that the initial timeframe for the shadowing should be between 3 and 6 months.

Interested in getting involved?

1. Express your interest

Councillors and young people can express their interest by emailing YouthVoiceBucks@Buckinghamshire.gov.uk.
Just send us an email with your name and a little bit about yourself. We would love to know why you are interested in taking part!
Please include the phrase “Councillor Shadowing” in your email subject or in the email body.

Screenshot of email from young person Joe Bloggs to the councillor shadowing scheme

2. The Youth Voice Bucks registration form

To take part, young people will need to complete a Youth Voice Bucks registration form. There is a version that involves parent/carer consent and a version for older young people to self-consent.

View the Youth Voice Bucks registration form

View the Youth Voice Bucks self-registration form

3. Find a shadowing partner

When you express your interest, you may already have a shadowing partner in mind. Let the Participation Team know if so!
Councillors are encouraged to seek a young person to shadow them through their day-to-day councillor duties, contacts in local charities / other organisations, and their links to council services.
Young people are encouraged to reach out to one of their ward councillors or a councillor who is involved in something they’re interested in. Councillors’ names, contact details, roles and responsibilities are on the Buckinghamshire Members Directory.
The Youth Participation Team will also keep a list of interested young people and councillors and will do some matching up and introductions.

Any questions?

Feel free to send any questions you have to youthvoicebucks@buckinghamshire.gov.uk.

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