Support for Councillors
Support for Councillors
As a councillor, you will be provided with a range of support and information. There are dedicated officers providing support to members, covering advisory, administrative, committee, casework and research services.
WLGA Improvement Programme
The WLGA has worked closely with former councillors and officers to provide resources and a programme of support and training for new and returning councillors. The WLGA programme, which is free and funded by the Welsh Government, is delivered alongside councils’ own inducion and support programmes (see below).
The programme offers a comprehensive range of support to help councillors develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for effective local governance to deliver better outcomes for communities. The wellbeing of councillors is a priority, and the programme offers a range of learning opportunities to give councillors the confidence and resilience to meet the challenges of being a councillor.
The programme aims to improve and develop:
Skills and Knowledge
- Councillor e-learning programme (for access check with your democratic services support)
- Councillor workbooks
- Guidance on how to introduce Personal Development Review schemes for councillors
- We support Heads of Democratic Services with the delivery of training materials and workshops, including bespoke commissioned support
Civility in public life
- Personal safety for councillors
- Councillors guide to handling intimidation
- Councillors guide to social media
- Digital citizenship
- Social media and online abuse
The Head of Democratic Services will ensure that the authority and individual non-executive members receive the following support:
- Committee and meetings support;
- Member support and services; and
- Scrutiny support
The Monitoring Officer (who may also be the Head of Democratic Services) is responsible for maintaining ethical standards and advising and training councillors on the Code of Conduct. The Monitoring Officer also supports the work of the council’s standards committee and is responsible for advising and training community and town council members on the Code of Conduct. In effect, the Monitoring Officer, in partnership with the standards committee is the primary source of advice and guidance for both councillors and officers on ethical and standards issues and the operation of the Code of Conduct.
Development and Training for Councillors
Every councillor, regardless of their role or experience, will need some training and development. If you do not fully understand your role and the policy and legislative framework that underpins it, you will be putting your council at risk. It is your responsibility to make sure that the council (through the democratic services committee) provides this for you. Your council has a legal duty to provide you with an opportunity to discuss your training and support needs and provide the appropriate development. Many councils provide this through personal development review schemes. Generally, you should be provided with:
- Induction training
- A role description
- An opportunity to be mentored
- An opportunity to talk about the training you would find useful
- Continuing training for specific council roles, and
- Briefings and updates on policy and legislation.
What do councillors need to know?
Here is a list of the skills and knowledge that are agreed by all councils in Wales to be required by all members. You can use it to check what you already know and can do and where you may need additional support. If you need help with any of these after your induction, officers will arrange this for you.
As a councillor, you will be entitled to receive a salary in return for the contribution that you make. It is important that councillors are paid so that the role is open to all, not just those who can afford it or have fewer other responsibilities. There is a cost to effective and inclusive democracy. There is a basic salary for all members and an additional senior salary for councillors who undertake specific responsibilities, such as executive/cabinet members or committee chairs. The maximum that can be paid as a basic salary is calculated annually and nationally by the Independent Remuneration Panel. The amount of the senior salary depends upon the size of your authority. In addition to your salary, you will also be entitled to claim allowances for travelling and subsistence and reimbursement for costs of care if you look after, for example, children or an older person. Councillors are also entitled to paid family absence and, for senior salary holders, paid sickness absence. The council is required to publish the details of the salary you receive. The amount which can be paid to councillors in salaries and allowances is published in the IRPW’s annual report here.
Councils have a duty to ‘make arrangements’ for councillors to make an annual report about their activities as a councillor during the year. This is not a duty on councillors to produce an annual report, although many do, and some councils expect their councillors to produce an annual report.