The term "local democracy" may be seen by some seasoned community activists as a contradiction in terms...
Whist they may have a point, whether it is voting in local elections, understanding how the local council makes its decisions, or finding out who the right person to get in touch with is, a good understanding of local democracy will be invaluable if you want to make a difference.
Here is a list of resources to help you get to grips with local democracy.
If you think that we've missed anything, or you would to ask any questions, drop us a line! firstname.lastname@example.org.
The London Borough of Southwark is one of 32 boroughs in the Greater London area and is administered by Southwark council. The council is responsible for running a wide range of services, from cleaning the streets to looking after older people.
It is also notoriously difficult to navigate, with dozens of departments, thousands of staff, and, as we all know, millions of forms!
This guide will help simplify what it does and how the council makes its decisions.
For more information about your local Councillor click here.
Community councils are supposed to take decision-making out of the town hall and put it back into the community. They give people of any age and background a say about what goes on in their area.
The five community councils are based on council ward boundaries and each has elected councillors as voting members.
The community councils hold public meetings, about 5 times a year, where local people can meet with each other and with the ward Councillors, to discuss key issues of concern, and help influence decisions on matters of local interest
Southwark council has more information about the meetings on their website here.
To find out when your next meeting is head over to our events page.
Democracies such as the UK elect holders of high office by voting and it is an important that a UK citizen uses the right to vote and influence who those people are because decisions that they take will affect your life.
Some people view voting as an incredibly important way of taking part in the democratic process and holding those in power to account.
Others see it as a complete waste of time - that those in power are all the same and very little change will ever be made by the current political class.
This page outlines the process of voting, how you can vote and the different UK elections you can vote in.