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Other common questions about becoming a Councillor

How do I become a Councillor?

To become a Councillor you need to stand for election. The next local government elections will take place on Thursday 4 May 2017. See How do I become an Aberdeen City Councillor? for details about who is eligible to stand for election, an overview of the election process and the skills you need to carry out the role of Councillor.

Do I have to be a member of a political party?

No, you can be nominated and elected as an independent Councillor. There are currently three independent Councillors on Aberdeen City Council.

How long is the term of office?

Five years. The next term runs from 2017-2022.

What is expected of a Councillor?

For more information on what Councillors do and the skills required for the role, see the links below:


How much time would I have to commit to the role?

This varies depending on the amount of Council, constituency and political party business that applies to you. Council meetings are generally held during the working day and can last several hours.

Can I be employed and also be a Councillor?

Yes, although it will be up to you to balance your workload to ensure you are able to fulfil your responsibilities and commitments as a Councillor. It is important that you discuss this issue with your employer.

Will my employer have to release me for Council duty?

You should discuss this with your employer but government guidance notes that employees should be allowed time off to perform public duties such as Council business. The amount of time off should be agreed between the employee and employer beforehand, based on:

  • how long the duties might take
  • the amount of time the employee has already had off for public duties
  • how the time off will affect the business

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

The employer can refuse a request for time off if they think it's unreasonable.

For more information, see Time off work for public duties.

Where and when are Council meetings held?

Meetings of the Council and its committees are held in the Town House, located on Broad Street in Aberdeen city centre. Although you may have to attend meetings in other Council buildings across the city as well attend meetings outwith the city on Council business.

Meetings of the main Committees are held around every eight weeks - see the Calendar of meetings for dates. Most meetings are held in the Council Chamber, or Committee Room 2 at the Town House. Meetings such as Sub Committees are normally held in the Committee Rooms (2, 3, 4 and 5) in the Town House. Generally meetings start at 2pm, apart from Licensing Committee and the Planning Development Management Committee which each start at 10am, and Council which starts at 10.30am.

Is there training for Councillors?

Yes, new and returning Councillors will be provided with induction training shortly after the 2017 elections on how the Council works and your responsibilities as a Councillor. Training will also be made available for elected members on an ongoing basis. A timetable of training sessions will be provided to all potential candidates once nominations close. For more information on training, development and general support for Councillors, see What support do Councillors receive?

Will I have my own office at the Council?

Yes, this will be allocated to you during the induction process although you may have to share office space with a small number of other Councillors.

Do Councillors get paid and can they claim expenses?

Councillors are paid an annual salary and are entitled to claim for expenses if the cost relates to the undertaking of Council business. All claims will be processed in line with the Council's expenses policy.

As a Councillor, what support will I get?

Councillors are supported by Council officers, paid staff whose job it is to advise and assist them to ensure they receive robust information on the provision of Council services. Councillors will be assisted on a regular basis by Members Support and Legal and Democratic Services who will provide practical and procedural support.
For more information, see What support do Councillors receive?

Will I be provided with equipment?

All Councillors will receive a laptop computer and have access to standard office equipment. The Council's Facility Management Team will be happy to advise and assist Councillors on the provision of equipment necessary to meet the requirements of their role.


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