Councillors' remuneration and expenses: recommendations

Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee (SLARC) was reconvened in April 2023 to undertake an independent review of councillor remuneration, having last reported in 2011.

Appendix 5: Role Profiles

1. Councillors

2. Leaders

3. Provosts/Civic Heads (Convenors)

4. Senior Councillors (Chairs of Committees/Spokespersons)

These draft role profiles have been designed in order to provide an indicative outline of the key roles and responsibilities of Councillors and those in receipt of Senior Responsibility Allowances.

All Councillors

Role Profile /Key Responsibilities

Representation –

  • To represent the views and interests of ward residents and deal with their enquiries and representations fairly and without prejudice.
  • To represent and act as an advocate for the interests of their Ward, liaising and working with local organisations and representative groups to further the interests of the Ward and its individual residents.

1. Community

  • To promote the best interests of the Council and the community as they relate to the improvement of the quality of life of the community and its citizens in terms of social, economic, and environmental wellbeing.
  • To maintain contact with local groups and organisations; develop knowledge of local issues; and encourage community involvement in the work of the Council.

2. Council Business

  • To participate effectively as a member of any committee, sub-committee, working group or task group.
  • To have an overview of corporate and cross-cutting issues as they impact on the Council and the community.
  • To contribute actively to the formulation and scrutiny of the policies, budgets and strategies.
  • To scrutinise how effectively the Council is performing and meeting its targets, whether it is achieving best value.
  • To develop and maintain a working knowledge of the Council’s services and activities, management arrangements, partnership arrangements, statutory requirements, duties, and constraints.

3. Partnership

  • To work in partnership with others councillors, officers and partnership organisations.
  • To support local partnerships and organisations and develop links between these groups and local communities.

In carrying out these roles, elected members should adhere to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and demonstrate commitment to the principles of selflessness, honesty, integrity, objectivity, openness, accountability and respect for others.


Role Profile /Key Responsibilities

In addition to the responsibilities identified for all Councillors, the Leader of the Council is also responsible for the following:

1. Leadership - To lead the political administration of the Council, providing leadership in relation to policy formulation, implementation and monitoring of the council's policies, budgets, strategies, and service delivery and to contribute to the effective governance of the Council.

2. Strategic - To take the lead role for proposing, directing, and overseeing the Council’s overall strategy and policy development.

3. External - To be a political figurehead and provide an external focus for the Council.

4. Represent - To represent the Council as its Political Leader at meetings and events at local, regional, national and international level.

5. Relationship Management - To develop and manage the general relationship with the Scottish and UK Government Ministers, MPs and MSPs, COSLA, Parliament and other key organisations and individuals.

6. Reputation & Media - To manage reputation at a political level and represent the Council to the media where the importance of the issue demands it.

7. Co-ordination/Direction

  • To co-ordinates the work of the Committee Chairs/Convenors and the Council Administration to ensure corporate effectiveness and that the work of the Council meets and delivers agreed priorities, strategies, and policy.
  • To provide the key political level link between the officer structure and the political structure and provides day to day political direction.
  • To give direction to the Chief Executive on political matters and participate in the performance review and development of the Chief Executive.

8. Standards

  • To promote high standards of behaviour and compliance with all relevant standards. and to promote an inclusive working environment involving all members of the council.
  • To ensure effective governance arrangements are in place and the Council’s Chief Executive and Chief Officers manage the operation of the Council within the financial limits and decisions set by the Council.

9. Chair - To chair committee meetings/Full Council.

Civic Head/Provost(Convener)

Role Profile /Key Responsibilities

In addition to the responsibilities identified for all Councillors, the Civic Head/Provost is also responsible for the following:-

1. Civic:

  • To undertake civic and ceremonial functions on behalf of the Council and the community.
  • To provide civic hospitality for international, national, regional and local visitors to the Council for significant celebrations within the Area and for individuals who have brought honour to the community at home and/or abroad.
  • To represent the Council at civic and ceremonial events and be the formal representative when meeting with visiting dignitaries.

2. Ambassadorial - To act as an ambassador for and promote the Council.

3. Communications - To communicate the ethos of the Council to citizens, external bodies, and local and national government community.

4. Promotion - To promote the core values of the Council in fulfilling their remit.

5. Full Council – To preside over meetings of the full Council and ensure that its business is carried out efficiently and with regards to the rights of councillors and the interest of the community.

6. Liaison - To liaise closely with the Leader of the Council in terms of the civic roles and functions on behalf of the Council.

7. Deputise - To deputise for the Leader as and when required.

Senior Councillor (Chair of Committee/Strategic Spokesperson)

Role Profile /Key Responsibilities

In addition to the responsibilities identified for all Councillors, Senior Councillors (Chairs of Committees/Strategic Spokespersons) are also responsible for the following:-

1. Committee

  • To act as Chair of a Committee and liaise with senior officers within their portfolio regarding committee business.
  • To ensure Committee and working group meetings are conducted effectively in accordance with standing orders and encourage participation and debate.

2. Strategic/Corporate

  • To contribute to the development of the Council’s corporate strategies to help ensure the development of service policy within the corporate environment in relation to their portfolio.
  • To providing regular reports on the areas of work for which they have responsibility, including reporting back on meetings with organisations and other events outside the Council.
  • To take a corporate lead in the development of the Council as an organisation and the formulation and achievement of its strategic vision.

8. Spokesperson -

  • To promoting awareness of service strategies, achievements, and constraints in order to inform the public, government and other organisations.
  • To act as spokesperson within and outside the Council in relation to the Committee’s remit.
  • To advocate within the local community, and with appropriate agencies and bodies, for the services within their area.

3. Governance

  • To contribute to the effective governance of the Council.
  • To ensure the overall co-ordination and management of the relevant Committee function and terms of reference.

4. Liaison

  • To work closely with the Chief Officer and senior managers to provide clarity on political direction and assist in working through strategies and plans within their portfolio.
  • To maintaining good communications with Council employees, providing a bridge between the Council and employees to provide a policy background for, and recognition of, their work.



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