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What's expected of a councillor?

What's expected of a councillor?

The expectations placed on a councillor are considerable. It is a time consuming as well as responsible job but with significant rewards. If elected as a councillor, you will need to balance your time between working in your community and working in the council. Also, if you continue in other forms of employment, you will need to accommodate your work as a councillor alongside your ‘day job’.

Before you consider becoming a councillor, you may want to discuss it with your family and friends to ensure that they understand that you will need their support and understanding. While you will have meetings and obligations that require your presence at certain times, being a councillor can also be flexible and rarely will you work Monday-Friday 9 till 5.

Will I get time off work if I am elected?

Many employers recognise the value of the work of councillors and the skills that their employees will gain in the role and therefore provide time off or flexibility for you to undertake your council duties. Employers are required under the Employment Rights Act 1996 to provide reasonable time off work for public duties. These duties include attendance at committee meetings and approved duties. Most employers are happy to do this for formal meetings of the council, which are usually arranged many months in advance and can, therefore be planned. However, you should note that there is no legal requirement for an employer to pay a councillor for the time they take off to carry out their councillor role.

Did you know?

  • The average number of hours councillors spend on council business is 36 hours per week.
  • Councillors with no additional employment spend on average 39 hours per week on council business.
  • 40% of councillors have some form of additional employment outside of their councillor duties.
  • Councillors who have additional employment spend on average 31 hours per week on councillor duties.
  • Councillors who have paid employment outside of their councillor duties spend an average of 25 hours per week working in their paid employment.
Source: (Scotland’s Councillors, Improvement Service, 2013)