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Local Government Internship | Part time

About the Employer

Woodbridge Town Council was created in 1974 as the successor to the Urban District Council. It is based in the Shire Hall, Market Hill. It is the 3rd tier of Local Government after Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council and deals only with the Town of Woodbridge.

The Town itself is split into 4 Wards; FARLINGAYE, KYSON, SECKFORD and RIVERSIDE and each ward has four Councillors. To view a map of the Wards and find details of the councillors who represent them please visit our website.

The Town Mayor is Chairman of the Council; he/she is also the Civic Head of Woodbridge, representing the Town at many civic and other functions.

The Town Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month (with the exception of August), with the Amenities, Finance & Staffing and Planning Committees meeting in turn on the remaining Tuesdays of the month.

Meetings are held in the Council Chamber, Shire Hall, Market Hill, usually starting at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings.

In addition, Town Councillors are appointed to local bodies in the Town including the Town Centre Management Group, Woodbridge Community Council, the Community Hall Management Committee, Woodbridge Museum, the Suffolk Association of Local Councils, the Tide Mill Trust, the Seckford Foundation and the Safer Neighbourhood Team.

The Town Council owns and maintains the Shire Hall and Market Square, the award winning Elmhurst Park, Kingston Field, The Garden of Remembrance and War Memorial, Fitzgerald Green (off Sun Lane), Broomheath and Fen Meadow. It also maintains the Quaker Burial Ground in Turn Lane on behalf of the owner.

The Shire Hall Council Chamber is also an approved premises for Civil Ceremonies.

Internship Description

Local Government Internship
Commencing: ASAP
Duration: 8 - 12 weeks
Location: Woodbridge, Suffolk

What is a Town Council?

A Town Council is a statutory body and is the most local level of government. It has an important role in promoting the town, representing its interests and supporting the work of different groups in the community.

What does a Town Council do?

Town Councils have a number of formal powers. Many provide allotments, and look after playing fields, village greens and other types of leisure facilities. They have a hand in maintaining or guarding rights of way, bus shelters, public seats and smaller scale street lighting. Councils are often concerned with the provision of halls and community buildings.

Town Councils can do these things by actually providing them itself or by funding other organisations, such as a charity, to do them through grants or contracts. The Government’s Localism policy is encouraging local Councils to provide more services including funding services that used to be run by the County Council but have been cut, such as youth services.

Local Government Transparency

In June 2010 the Secretary of State called on all councils to make details of spending on all goods and services that fall above a £500 threshold available for the public to view.

Model Publication Scheme

As well as responding to requests for information, Councils must publish information proactively. The Freedom of Information Act requires every public authority to have a publication scheme, approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and to publish information covered by the scheme.

The scheme must set out your commitment to make certain classes of information routinely available, such as policies and procedures, minutes of meetings, annual reports and financial information. To help, the ICO has developed a model publication scheme. There are two versions; one for most public authorities and one for the few public authorities that are only covered for part of the information they hold.

The information you release in accordance with the publication scheme represents the minimum you must disclose. If a member of the public wants information not listed in the scheme, they can still ask you for it.

Most public authorities will make their publication scheme available on their website under ‘freedom of information’, ’guide to information’ or ‘publication scheme’. If asked for any of this information, you should be able to make it available quickly and easily, so all staff should be aware of the information available through your publication scheme.

The Role

The successful candidate will work alongside the Clerk, Deputy Clerk and Administration Team to support Councillors in their duties and ensure the accurate preparation and maintenance of Council records and other official municipal documents. If required they will help supervise elections within the Town, issue various licenses and permits and record statistical information.

Qualifications Required

What do we look for?

It might come as a surprise, but we don’t have a specific discipline requirement, so you don’t have to have a background in finance, business or economics. We’re looking for strong analytical skills, ambition, a talent for influencing people and a real desire to understand how local government works. Enthusiasm and commitment go a long way.

Skills Required

IT Skills:
•Good skills in MS-Office applications (PowerPoint, Word);
•Advanced proficiency in Excel (i.e. pivot table, v-look up);

•Proficiency in English;
•Any other language skills are a plus.

More Information

Shire Hall & Market Square

Originally built by Thomas Seckford, the upper part of the Shire Hall was used for judicial purposes while the ground floor served as an open corn market. Many changes followed over the intervening centuries, notably the addition of Flemish gabling and stone capping in the 17th Century and the bricking up of the archways in the early 19th Century. However, the Hall continued to serve in a judicial capacity until recent times, maintaining a link with the Elizabethan era.

In 1987 the Town Council purchased the Shire Hall, which now serves as the administration centre.



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