If you are elected as a councillor you will typically serve for a four year term, representing an area called a ward. Wards are divided up so that each councillor serves an average of around 2,000 electors.
You can find out who your local councillor is from the your councillors list.
What councillors do
Much of a councillor's time is taken up with working directly with the residents in their ward. A councillor may do the following type of work:
- handle phone calls and letters asking for help and advice
- receive complaints about local public services and refer them to the right department so that they can be resolved
- keep their eyes and ears to the ground in their ward to bring to the council's attention any problems or improvements which are needed
- hold surgeries or take other steps to ensure they are available to all the ward residents
- liaise with other public services, such as the police, fire authority and health services on behalf of ward residents and for the benefit of the community as a whole.
Many councillors serve on their local school governing body and/or Parish Council and help in other ways at action groups, management committees of community associations and village halls. You can look to your ward councillors to represent your interests within the council's guidelines.
What is expected of councillors
Councillors come into contact with a very wide range of people and are asked to make decisions about many different local issues. It is important that they follow high standards of behaviour and integrity, acting as they do on the public's behalf. The council Members' Code of Conduct sets clear guidance for councillors, the key points are:
- councillors must treat others with respect
- councillors must not bring the council into disrepute
- councillors must not use their council contacts or knowledge to secure to themselves or others an improper advantage, or to place others at a disadvantage
- councillors must not act on an issue where they have an obvious conflict of interest.
All complaints alleging a breach of the code of conduct are referred to a sub committee of the Audit Committee for initial assessment. Councillors and cabinet members lead the council's policy programme and make important choices about our services. Others approve (or reject) planning and licensing applications or hear appeals. Some provide independent challenge and scrutiny of cabinet and committee decisions. All 59 councillors together decide the budget, council tax and major policies.
Under the code of conduct for councillors all members of the council must disclose any disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs), in the interests of openness and transparency. They are also required to disclose the DPIs of their spouse or civil partner, or person with whom they live as spouse or civil partner if they are aware that the other person has the interest. In addition they are required to disclose the interests of any person from whom they have received a gift or hospitality with an estimated value of at least £100 (but this is not a DPI).
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are set out on page 5 of the Members' Code of Conduct.
Details of all councillor's interests are maintained in a register kept for the purpose by the council's Governance Team and available for inspection by members of the public, and also published on the council's website. See your councillors pages to see registered interests.
Register of Members' financial and other interests
Use the form to register any Members interests. If you require any help completing the form, contact the Monitoring Officer using the following details:
Chief Executive’s Department
Or by email: fiona.mcmillan@peterborough.