People are being encourage to have their day on local issues and help shape the county for years to come during this Local Democracy Week.
County Councillor Teresa Heritage, who oversees public health and localism, said: “We want everybody in Hertfordshire to take part in decision making because residents’ views should shape our priorities and the services we provide. We still face difficult decisions and now as much as ever, it is important to get involved and help secure the county’s future.”
This year, Herts County Council is running events to engage people in decision making including The Citizens’ Panel Question Time event, taking place this Wednesday (October 14).
Members of the panel have been invited to come along to County Hall to put their questions about the council’s budget to deputy leader Councillor Chris Hayward.
The Chairman’s Debate is also taking place on Weds, with more than 50 Year 12 students from local schools attending. Chaired by Frances Button, it will be a simulation of a real public debate which took place around School Place Planning, bringing the decision-making process to life for the students and highlighting the importance of engaging and participating in Local Democracy and decisions which affect people’s everyday lives.
A series of short videos are also being released throughout Democracy Week, running until October 18, with members of Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet, giving a summary of their work and inviting the public to get involved.
The majority of the council’s meetings are held in public and you can find out more at www.hertsdirect.org/councilmeetings.
Cllr Heritage said: “As your local representative, your county councillor can help you influence decision making and fund projects you care about. Our councillors work closely with local communities to identify local issues, and we want people to feel comfortable contacting their councillor, so let us know what you think.”
During the week Dacorum Borough Council is urging 16 and 17 year olds to take just three minutes out of their day to register to vote, so that they can do so as soon as they turn 18.
Students at sixth forms and colleges across the borough will be sent a postcard setting them the challenge of registering online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Democratic services manager Jim Doyle said: “You have to be on the electoral register in order to vote in any elections. We’re updating the register now, and if you’re 16 or 17 you can also register so that you’re ready to vote as soon as you turn 18.”
Local Democracy Week falls part way through the annual electoral canvass to update all households’ details on the electoral register. Dacorum residents have until November 20 to register to vote, before the new register of electors is published on December 1.
A form was sent to all homes over the summer, and canvassers will be visiting homes to encourage residents to complete their details. Failure to complete details may affect credit references, and could incur a fine.
The council has also been working with local primary schools to mark the week. Activities are planned to explain the importance of having a say in the local area, and showing how elections work with a mock election of superheroes.
There is more information on elections and the electoral register at www.dacorum.gov.uk/elections