Bridgend County Borough Council,Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB

Tel: 01656 643643
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18001 01656 643643
Fax: 01656 668126
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Monday - Thursday 8.30am - 5.00pm
Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm

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Most commonly asked questions about your local councillor

Bridgend County Borough Council

Councillors are representatives of the people of Bridgend County Borough, elected to become a member of the Council at local elections. Local elections are usually held every four years and the last Bridgend County Borough Council election was held in May 2017. Bridgend County Borough Council currently has 54 councillors representing 39 wards.

What do councillors do?

Although it is the duty of a councillor to represent the whole community, they have a special responsibility to champion the needs of the constituents within their wards. Councillors have a duty to know what is going on in their area, and to help with any issues and queries that a constituent may have. For example this could mean helping to solve a housing problem or arranging for a new road sign.

Councillors also take collective decisions that form the policy of the council. The ‘top’ body of the council is the full council meeting. Full Council is where all 54 councillors meet to debate decisions. Notably full council decides the budget and the policy of the council. Councillors may also have roles as Cabinet members, members of Scrutiny or standing committees.

Councillors are community leaders and work in partnership with many local bodies and forums, for example health boards, police authorities and schools. In this way councillors develop a deeper understanding and knowledge of the organizations that serve their communities.

Above all, councillors should listen to the needs of local people and take their views into account when making decisions.

Why are councillors important?

Councillors are important because they are the voice of the community and play a vital role in the functioning of democracy. They are the community representatives and campaign on local issues in order to further the quality of life and development of their ward and the borough as a whole. Do councillors get paid?

Councillors receive a salary as prescribed by the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales to reimburse them for the time and expenses occurred whilst on council business. For more information on councillors’ allowances within Bridgend County Borough Council, visit councillors’ remuneration.

How busy are councillors?

It is for the individual councillor to decide the level of commitment that they are willing to give; it also depends on their role within the council and the number of duties that they take on. Councillors need to devote time to dealing with queries from their constituents, and are likely to receive a lot of mail, e-mail, telephone calls and personal visits. Constituents contact their councillors at all times of the day – not always at a reasonable hour!

Councillors are expected to attend all formal council meetings and committees on which they are a member. Some weeks there may be more scheduled meetings than others. If you are an elected chairperson or cabinet member the role can be very demanding as the responsibilities are greater. Many councillors also represent the council on outside organisations and at conferences and may have to travel some distance to attend these meetings.

For the majority of meetings councillors will need to read detailed papers and background information. Councillors are also invited to attend numerous seminars and training events.

What support do councillors receive?

Council officers are employed to carry out the decisions of councillors and are fully committed to help councillors fulfil their duties by offering advice and guidance on any issue.

In most cases it will be the senior officers e.g. the chief executive, directors and heads of service who are the first port of call.

Councillors also receive administrative support from the member services unit which is specifically dedicated to supporting the needs of councillors and acting as a liaison between councillors, officers and, members of the public.

A work area situated within the council suite is also provided for use by all councillors and has facilities such as computers, printers, telephones and stationery.

Are all councillors members of a political party?

No, although the majority of councillors are members of a political party they can also stand as an independent councillor.

How long are councillors in office?

County borough councillors usually serve a five year term of office, unless they are elected at a by-election whereby they serve until the next scheduled council elections. The next Council Elections after 2017 are in 2022.

Will everything that I tell my local councillor be treated confidentially?

Yes, when councillors are elected they agree to follow a code of conduct, this ensures high standards in the way that they conduct their duties. Councillors will obviously have to liaise with council officers in order to reach a conclusion to most queries; however council employees are also bound by a confidentiality clause.

How do I become a councillor?

To become a councillor you should stand for local election and win. The criteria for standing as a candidate is that you must be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a British citizen, or a citizen of another Commonwealth country, the Republic of Ireland or another member state of the European Union.

In addition you must also meet at least one of the following qualifications during the whole of the 12 months before the day you are nominated and on polling day:

  • you are registered as a local government elector for the local authority area in which you wish to stand.
  • you own or are the tenant of any land or premises in the local authority in which you wish to stand.
  • your main or only place of work has been in the local authority area.

You may not stand as a councillor if you:

  • are employed by the local authority, hold a paid office (including joint boards or committees) or hold a political restricted post with another council
  • are a bankrupt
  • have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including a suspended sentence) during the five years before election day
  • have been disqualified under Part III of the Representation of the People act 1983 or under the Audit Commission Act 1998

Who is my local councillor and how do I contact him/her?

You can find out who your local councillor is by either following the related links on this website or telephoning the Member Services section of Bridgend County Borough Council on 01656 643375.

Councillors can be contacted by telephone, letter and e-mail, or in person. Some councillors hold ‘drop-in’ surgeries, usually in local community buildings (details are on members’ individual web pages).

Is it ok for me to contact my local councillor at home and on weekends?

Yes, when a member of the community becomes a councillor it is on the understanding that they are accessible to the public throughout all of the week and at home as well as when they are in the council offices.

What happens to my query once I have spoken to my local councillor?

Councillors will refer the query to the relevant council department, this can be done via letter, e-mail, telephone or in person and depends on which approach is appropriate to the query. The department will then investigate the issues raised and respond to the councillor. The council aims to initially investigate and respond all queries within ten working days from receipt. This is obviously however dependent on the nature of the problem and the resources available.

How is the Leader of the council elected?

The Leader of the council is elected on a yearly basis at the Annual Meeting of Council which takes place in May. The leader is the political head of the council and is therefore usually the group leader of the majority political party. However this is not always the case and the majority can be formed from smaller political groups coming together to form an alliance.

Last Updated: 12/06/2017
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