People of South Tyneside can get an insight into the workings of their local council as part of a week-long celebration of democracy.
Local Democracy Week (Monday 9 to Sunday 15 October)aims to raise awareness of local authorities, what they do and how they work as well as encourage people to get more involved in local decision-making.
South Tyneside Council is marking the week with a series of events including special town hall tours as well as a 'pop up' democracy stand in Hebburn Central.
Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Democratic Renewal, said: "Local Democracy Week is a Europe wide campaign to raise people's awareness of local government.
"Local democracy is something which affects each and every resident so we are keen to involve as many people as possible and help them get a better understanding of what the Council does, what democracy really means and how their contribution to the democratic process can really make a difference.
"We promote democracy all year round, but during Local Democracy Week we provide further opportunities to take part in events as well as find out about how council meetings work and the duties of council officers and elected members."
The town hall tours will give people a chance to see behind-the-scenes locations such as the imposing Council Chamber of the historic South Shields Town Hall where key policies are brokered and decisions are made.
The tours will be hosted by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion (South Shields Town Hall) and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ken Stephenson (Jarrow Town Hall) and are taking place on:
Tuesday 10 October, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, at Jarrow Town Hall;
Thursday 12 October, from 2:30pm to 3:30pm, at South Shields Town Hall.
Booking is required for these free events as places are limited. Slots will be allocated on a first come first served basis and can be reserved by calling(0191) 424 7019.
Hebburn residents are also encouraged to come along and meet with council officers and elected members to find out more about how they can get involved in democracy and help to shape local services at an information stand at Hebburn Central on Friday 13 October, from 1pm to 3:30pm.
Members of the public are also welcome to attend the East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum (CAF), which is taking place during Local Democracy Week on Thursday 12 October,at6pm,inSt Gregory's Church Hall, St Gregory's Court, off Borough Road, South Shields.
The CAF is one of five forums that promote and champion community engagement across South Tyneside and give residents the chance to find out what is happening in their area and have their say on everyday issues.
Councillor Kerr said: "We really hope that people will take up the opportunity to get involved in the events and find out more about local democracy."
Borough Council meetings are also filmed and available to watch on the Council's website at www.southtyneside.info/boroughcouncil as part of the Council's efforts to make democracy more accessible to all.
To book a place on the town hall tours or for further information about how to get involved in local democracy contact South Tyneside Council's Democratic Services Team on (0191) 424 7019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org