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Support for councillors


We provide support and assistance to all county councillors regardless of which political party or group they belong to.

We support all councillors through a comprehensive induction programme and an ongoing programme of training and development to enable them to fulfil their role as a community representative and leader. Personal development is a high priority, whether for:

  • a new councillor - getting to grips with their new role
  • an experienced councillor - trying to find better ways to involve the people in their local area
  • a scrutiny committee member - focusing on the performance and effectiveness of the council
  • an executive member - trying to get the balance right between portfolio and electoral division responsibilities, or
  • carrying out any of the many other committee and representative roles.

As a councillor, we will provide all the equipment and support needed to fulfil the role.

Learning and development

Councillors play a significant part in providing strong community engagement/leadership, effective overview and scrutiny, working in partnership, regulating and monitoring and performance management.

We recognise the need to ensure councillors are fully equipped and supported to carry out their roles within the council. We are committed to providing such support through a corporate, structured approach to councillors' learning and development by way of a member development and learning strategy.

Councillor compact

Councillors are subjected to many pressures and conflicting demands on their time. We have a 'councillor compact', which aims to bring clarity about the role of a councillor, how to perform duties and approaches to exercising responsibilities. Just as importantly, it contains a commitment about the support, advice and guidance that will be provided to all councillors to help them effectively fulfil their role.

Support services

It is recognised as good practice that councils offer some support to their councillors. Some examples of the type of support we offer includes:

  • office accommodation (such as members' rooms, meeting rooms)
  • secretarial and word-processing services 
  • communications facilities - phones, PCs or laptops, email, media support
  • information provision for use internally, perhaps to facilitate scrutiny, and externally, perhaps to respond to enquiries from constituents
  • assistance with casework management
  • research facilities
  • training and development
  • mentoring

Information technology

IT is another way that councillors can keep in touch with the local community. It also gives access to the information councillors need to influence or make decisions. Some councillors will find that electronic communications allow them to get much closer to the people they represent. It is essential that councillors are provided with training and ongoing support to assist them in this area.

Councillors are able to take up the option of a PC or laptop to enable them to access the council's systems and acquire information whenever it suits them. Good IT systems and skills can help councillors:

  • deal with casework more quickly and efficiently
  • assist with time management
  • offer an alternative method of keeping in touch with residents and community groups
  • enable access to key documents or other information online
  • research information about a particular issue.

Allowances

Councillors do not receive a salary. They are paid an allowance which is set by the council, in line with recommendations made by an Independent Remuneration Panel, whose role is to provide the council with advice on its Members' Allowances Scheme and the nature and level of allowances to be paid.

The council must take into account this advice when reviewing or amending its scheme and reflect levels of responsibility and the amount of time devoted to council affairs. In addition to a basic allowance, extra payments may cover special responsibilities, travel and subsistence.

Further information

If you are interested in being a councillor or would like to find out further information please see the Be a councillor website.

Contact us
Committee Services
03000 269 714
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UL
0191 383 4206
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