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Labour in Local Government

Councillor Responsibilities

What does a councillor do?

The role of a councillor is a broad and varied one. We hope to give you a clear overview of the sorts of things you are likely to have to do as a councillor, the impact you can have, and key duties you’ll be expected to to undertake in your role.

Standing up for local residents

One of the most important aspects of any councillor’s job is standing up for local residents. Councillors will be expected to host weekly surgeries to ensure that you are hearing concerns from your constitutents and taking action on problems in the area. Another key aspect of standing up for local residents will be dealing with casework and acting as an advocate for residents. These issues will range from those concerning housing benefits to anti-social behaviour in the area.

Developing better services

In the council chamber, your work will focus on a number of different aspects, including ensuring quality public services are provided by the council, participating in community planning and seeking improvements for residents around a number of important areas. These objectives can be achieved through your work on scrutiny panels, helping create council policy and providing leadership and engaging with the community.

Delivering local change

Councillors will work with community groups and local residents to ensure that the Council delivers improvement and change in the local area. Community groups are part of the fabric of the area and it is important that councillors maintain a good working relationship with them.

Key duties on the council

  • To attend full council, the council executive and/or overview and scrutiny committee(s) and other committee meetings as necessary
  • To monitor performance against targets in all areas of the council activity
  • To engage with local residents to consult them, feedback on council activity, take up their concerns as appropriate and be their voice in the council
  • To contribute effectively to the work of the Council, in line with Labour group policy as appropriate
  • To help to decide service priorities and participate in agreeing and setting a budget, in line with Labour group policy

Key duties within the community

  • To develop links with all parts of the community e.g. visiting schools, meeting local businesses, attending tenants’ meetings, visiting local projects and community groups
  • To conduct regular walkabouts in the ward to identify issues of concern and tackle nuisance e.g. fly-tipping, graffiti, abandoned cars
  • To promote and represent the Council in the local community and on community bodies (e.g. school governing bodies, residents associations)
  • To conduct regular surgeries to allow constituents to raise issues of importance or personal concern with their elected representatives
  • To take action on issues raised by constituents and lobby for resources for the ward within the constraints of the group’s overall priorities and financial strategy
    for the Council
  • To attend local community events on a regular basis

Key duties within the Labour group:

  • To participate actively in Labour group meetings and contribute to effective decision-making
  • To assist in the formulation of the Labour group’s strategies and policies, within a framework of national Labour Party policy
  • To be a part of the Labour team working to deliver Labour’s policies locally
  • To support regular campaign and communications in the local community, raising the profile of Labour and its work for local residents
  • To be an ambassador for the Labour Party

Key duties with the local branch Labour Party:

  • To attend branch meetings and report and consult on all council activity undertaken
  • To campaign with branch members on local issues
  • To support policy discussion e.g. as part of the Party’s policy making process
  • To recruit new members and mobilise existing ones into action
  • To build a healthy party locally

Interested in the role? Read more about the key attributes that make a great councillor.

You can also download the full Becoming a Labour Councillor booklet.

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Ideal Councillor Attributes