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What skills does a Councillor need?

It is important that Aberdeen City Council has Councillors who reflect and represent the communities they serve, and who have a wide range of skills and experience. You do not need to have any specific qualifications to be a Councillor, but the following skills and knowledge are useful for Councillors to have or to develop:

  • A commitment to public service and representing constituents.
  • The ability to focus on what best improves communities and the city as a whole.
  • The ability to consider a wide range of information.
  • Maintaining an objective and analytical mind.
  • Being a decisive and quick thinker.
  • The ability to scrutinise information and data and to provide clear and reasoned decisions.
  • The ability to communicate with constituents in an equal, polite, fair and transparent manner.
  • Being effective at communications and presentation so you can communicate in the appropriate manner with different audiences and publicise the needs of your constituents as well as the policies and aspirations of the Council.
  • The ability to negotiate and be diplomatic - for when there are areas of conflict and decision making is required.
  • The ability to work with others.
  • An understanding of the Council's budgeting and financial systems.
  • An understanding of the role of the Council and its governance arrangements.
  • Knowledge of IT systems such as email and Microsoft Word.

A Councillor is not expected to have all these skills when first elected. Development and training support is provided to all Councillors to help them carry out their role.

What principles does a Councillor have to apply?

In accordance with the general principles on which The Councillors' Code of Conduct is based a Councillor must apply the following principles in all their dealings with council employees, colleague Councillors and others:

  • Selflessness: Decisions must be taken solely in terms of the public interest. Councillors must not act in order to gain financial or other material benefit for themselves or family or friends.
  • Integrity: Councillors must not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to any individual or organisation that might reasonably be thought to influence them in the performance of their duties.
  • Objectivity: Councillors must make decisions solely on merit when carrying out public business including making appointments, awarding contracts or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits.
  • Accountability and Stewardship: Councillors are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public. They have a duty to consider issues on their merits, taking account of the views of others, and they must ensure that the council uses its resources prudently and in accordance with the law.
  • Openness: Councillors have a duty to be as open as possible about their decisions and actions, giving reasons for their decisions and restricting information only when the wider public interest clearly demands it.
  • Honesty: Councillors have a duty to act honestly. They must declare any private interests relating to their public duties and take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
  • Leadership: Councillors have a duty to promote and support these principles by leadership and example, and to maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of the council and its Councillors in conducting public business.
  • Respect: Councillors must respect all other Councillors and all council employees and the role they play, treating them with courtesy at all times. It is also expected that others reciprocate this degree of respect in their dealings with Councillors.

Back to the Becoming a Councillor homepage.