Welcome to Your New RoleYour First Days in Office

Welcome to your new role

Your First Days in Office

Your first days in office as a new councillor can feel like the start of any new job. You may not be sure who to speak to, what the business is all about or even exactly what your role is. You’ll know what you want to do, but not how to do it! You will have to juggle a number of roles and responsibilities and significant challenges. To undertake the role effectively takes a significant amount of time, personal commitment, patience, and resilience.

Your First Priorities

  • Signing your declaration of acceptance of office
  • Reading, understanding and signing the Code of Conduct
  • Declaring any interests and affiliations that you may have
  • Being briefed on how the constitution of the council works
  • Understanding the salaries, allowances and expenses procedures
  • Meeting the key officers and members in the Council and finding out what they do
  • Understanding and discussing with senior members the council roles and positions you might be interested in. For example, membership of the different committees or representation on outside bodies
  • Learning the protocols for participating in meetings, especially full Council meetings
  • Taking part in the induction programme for new members
  • Being provided with your ICT equipment and access to your online information such as the meeting calendar and members’ portal
  • Organising your community work and your ‘office’ system at home
  • Being shown around and having any other questions answered by a mentor or guide

Induction, training and support

All councils arrange an induction and training for newly elected councillors as they do for new members of staff. Make sure you have your induction information or know where to find it. Make sure that you put all the induction sessions for new members in your diary. No one is elected for the first time with all the information and skills they need and even returning councillors will benefit from a refresher as events are moving fast in the public sector. At these sessions, you’ll learn about your role and the policy and laws that will guide you, you’ll meet the officers and councillors that you’ll be working with and you’ll start to develop some additional skills. Some councils also arrange for you to be guided or mentored by experienced officers or councillors. If there are resources, support or information that you need, just ask – officers are on hand to provide you with advice, guidance and support.