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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Question: What are the main duties of a councillor

Asked by mcclbruc to Ted, Alastair on 22 Sep 2010 in Categories: .

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  • Photo: Alastair WittsAlastair Witts answered on 22 Sep 2010:

    Attending meetings of committees that you are on- some are council committees like education and there are other committees that the council supports and has councillors on. Then you are expected to look after the ward you are one of the councillors for (I’m a Nith Ward councillor, along with 3 others). You do that by going to community council meetings, having ‘surgeries’ when people can come and tell you about their problems and ask you to help them, and just going around, looking at things and talking to people.


  • Photo: Ted BrownTed Brown answered on 22 Sep 2010:

    A councillor’s primary duty is embodied in the oath of office that all Councillors must swear to in front of a Justice of the Peace or similar Court officer, each time they are elected.

    That in D&G includes the words, “… to represent the people of Dumfries and Galloway, to best of my ability, without fear or favour”

    Councillor’s also have a duty to abide by a strict code of conduct as agreed by all 47 Dumfries and Galloway Councillors and are also obliged to conform to the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000.

    Anyone can make a complaint about a councilor, either by directly contacting the relevant Council, or asking the Standards Commission to rule on the matter.

    Please do click on the link below for more information about that. Unfortunately, you will have to click on your browser’s back button to return to the bigvote site.


    The “rules” for Councillors are tougher than those for an MP or an MSP.

    What do you think about that?

    Other Councillor duties do, to some extent, depend on which Committees and “Outside Bodies” a Councillor sits on. Having said that, we do have a range of discretionary duties that are given to us under our “signing powers”. So we can, for example, witness passport applications, citizenship applications and formally endorse such things as shotgun licenses.

    All this boils down to two types of duty.

    1) To act as advocates for all in the communities that we have been elected to represent


    2) To behave like an impartial judge, when we are dealing with such things as planning applications and licensing matters. The jargon for this is, the“quasi judicial” role of a Councillor.

    I am not sure if this is the kind of answer that you were expecting, so please do get back to me if it isn’t.

    Regards Ted



  • Photo: JaneJane commented on 22 Sep 2010:

    Alastair has covered the bases, and I would add that
    1.we also work with other public bodies like the NHS and Scottish Enterprise to see where these can give a better service to the public together with the council and
    2 councillors have responsibilities to what is called the Third (voluntary) sector – all the organisations that do (paid) things for the council, but not for profit. eg homecare, welfare advice,


  • Photo: ElaineElaine commented on 25 Sep 2010:

    I think the councillors have covered everything – as you can see, there’s a lot more to being a councillor than people think – its hard work which is not always appreciated