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Work Experience with Marlborough Town Council

Written by Ellie Jerome

ellie1

Being interested in studying politics further down the line, my recent work experience at the Marlborough Town Council offices was fantastic as it gave me the opportunity to see government working on a very local level. Truth be told I expected the offices to be a lot bigger than they are and a lot more formal, so the first thing that struck me was how friendly all of the staff are and what a lovely environment it is, both for the people who work there and for any visitors who come through the door.

After having a chat with Shelley, the town clerk, I spent the morning working on reception and finding out more about what goes on. Something that was immediately clear from sorting out the post and answering the phone was the huge diversity of things the council deals with: everything from Marlborough in Bloom certificates to cemetery records to planning applications.

On my second day I went for a tour of the areas the council looks after with Richard, the grounds and estates manager. I was surprised by just how much Richard and his teams of seven men are responsible for around the town. Another thing that was interesting was to see was the difference between what the town council is responsible for and what Wiltshire County Council is responsible for. It seemed almost nonsensical at times – for example Richard pointed out one grass verge that the Town Council were responsible for and then explained that the next verge along was actually the responsibility of Wiltshire Council. My confusion in understanding what is looked after by Wiltshire Council and what is looked after by the Town Council seems to be shared by some townspeople as well, as several times I had to refer callers over to Wiltshire Council for their enquiries.

After lunch I sat in on a briefing meeting between the mayor, Councillor Margaret Rose, and the town clerk before the full town council meeting, taking place in the evening and that evening I attended the full town council meeting in the Town Hall. The deep-rooted tradition of Marlborough Council was evident from the Mayor’s regal ‘throne’, the photos of past Mayors going back over 100 years adorning the walls, the mace from 1652, and the prayers that started off the meeting. The meeting was soon underway and the agenda was efficiently addressed and discussed, several points marked by bursts of debate between the councillors before voting on the issues. Although it’s supposedly an apolitical council, the differing shades of politics were sometimes apparent and there was certainly some heated debate.

I’d like to end by saying a big thank you to Shelley, Dawn, Linda, Sue, Richard and everyone else at Marlborough Town Council for making me feel welcome and for making my experience an interesting and enjoyable one.

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