Councillor Contract 2018-2022
Lewisham Labour Councillor Contract 2018 – 2022
OUR EXPECTATIONS OF YOU:
Labour Councillors are the public face of the Labour Party in the borough and have a critical role in terms of both engaging with and supporting local communities. We recognise that our councillors should, as far as is possible, broadly reflect the community they represent. That means we should seek to select and elect candidates of all ages, genders, ethnicity, abilities, and economic or social background.
In doing that, we accept that they will have different needs that require supporting. They will have varying time constraints or capacities that may or may not disadvantage them… be it age, gender, ethnicity, caring responsibilities (for young or old), employment, health, disability, or social or economic background. This should be recognised in deciding how best to help them meet the requirements of the contract, with wherever possible the appropriate support mechanisms put in place. When not possible, then due discretion should be given to the Whips in assessing councillors against the standards of this contract.
Labour Councillors are expected to be positive role models and always conduct themselves in a professional and constructive way, and demonstrate the highest standards in public life. Above all, this means treating members of the public with respect and listening to their concerns. But it also means treating other Council councillors and staff with mutual respect. You should also work to promote equal opportunities, and ensure it is reflected in your attitude to and treatment of others.
In practice, this means you should:
- Practise equalities in your relations with everyone – your constituents, Council staff and other councillors
- Ensure you work constructively with all Council staff and other councillors
- Be sensitive to the specific needs of individual groups or communities
- Be respectful, polite and courteous of others’ circumstances and their views
- Be honest, open and transparent
- Ask for any support or help you need
- Get agreement from Whips for anything that affects your Council work, who should use their discretion and sensitivity, particularly in relation to the issues cited in the paragraphs above
- Prepare for meetings
- Set yourself or others realistic timescales
- Always ask when you are unsure of something
- Avoid absence from Council business, if possible, and try and avoid prolonged holidays
- Try and work as a team with your ward councillor colleagues
- Ensure any absence is covered by your colleagues
- Ensure you respond to constituents and deal with their issues promptly
- Ensure people can always make contact with you by clearing mailboxes
- Maintain confidentiality in personal cases and sensitive Council business
- Do not make promises or commitments that you may not be able to deliver
- Always promote the borough, the work of the Council and the Labour Party
- Ensure you uphold the values and ethos of Lewisham Labour Group and the Labour Party at all times
All candidates signed up to the Councillors Contract prior to their election and this sets out key standards which it expects from its public representatives. These are the basic standards that Lewisham Campaigns Forum and Lewisham Labour Group have of elected Councillors.
WHAT THE COUNCILLOR CONTRACT MEANS:
1 Lewisham Council
- I will attend 100% of the Full Council meetings (unless agreed by the Chief Whip)
- I will attend 70% the Mayor and Cabinet/or Overview and Scrutiny committees and other committee meetings I am a member of (unless agreed by the Chief Whip)
- I will attend all the Local Assembly meetings – engage with residents by consulting them, feedback on council activity, take up their concerns as appropriate and be their voice in the Council
- I will monitor my attendance as it published on Lewisham’s web site and work with the Chief Whip on reports to the Branch Secretary and LCF on my attendance and performance.
- Contacts – I will ensure constituents and correspondents are responded to in a timely manner, even if it is a simple holding response, using the form of communication chosen by them – be it email, telephone or post. This means that I must ensure that I have:
- a public, working email address which is checked at least daily;
- a public non-premium rate telephone number, with an answer phone checked at least daily.
If I am on leave then I will ensure there is an out of office message and alternative contact details. I understand that the Council will provide a smart phone and tablet/laptop for Council business.
- Advice surgery – I will ensure that at least one advice surgery is open to the public in the ward every month on a rota with my co-councillors in the ward to allow constituents to raise issues of importance or personal concern with their elected representatives. I will attend 100% of my advertised surgeries on the rota, or arrange for a suitable replacement to stand in the event of unavoidable absence.
- Ward walkabouts – I will conduct regular (monthly as a minimum) walkabouts in the ward to identify and report issues of concern and tackle nuisance e.g. fly-tipping, graffiti, abandoned cars
- Community links – I will develop links with all parts of the community e.g. visiting schools, meeting local businesses, attending tenants and residents meetings, amenity society, visiting local projects and community groups
- I will promote and represent the Council in the local community and on community bodies (e.g. school governing bodies, residents associations) attending 70% of meetings I am the Councils representative (unless agreed by the Chief Whip where there is a clash with Town Hall meetings)
3 Lewisham Labour Group:
- I will attend at least 70% of the Labour Group meetings and contribute to effective decision-making
- I will assist in the formulation of the Labour group’s strategies and policies, within a framework of national Labour Party policy and the policies of the directly elected Mayor
- I will be a part of the Labour team working to deliver Labour’s policies across Lewisham joining in Group campaigning where necessary
- I will ensure that I abide by Labour Group Standing Orders at all times
- Standards in Public Life – I will conduct myself in a manner consistent with the rules and values of the Labour Party, and in accordance with the standards and codes set out by the Lewisham Labour Group and the London Borough of Lewisham and not bring the Party into disrepute through my actions or public statements
- All Councillors receive a Basic Allowance of £9,812 and if I receive a Special Responsibility Allowance (as set out in the attached Financial Matters) I will provide a written report to the Labour Group at least annually on my performance
- The Group Secretary will monitor my attendance and report on everyone’s attendance before the Group AGM so that attendance can be taken into account when standing for a position
4 Branch Labour Party:
- Meetings – I will attend 70% Branch meetings for the ward I represent
- Reporting – working with my co-councillors we will provide a monthly written report on my council activity – could be on a rota
- Campaigning – I will work with Branch officers to develop an annual ward campaign plan and follow the plan including street stalls, door knocking and other public events
- Literature – I will ensure Labour Group campaign objectives are delivered, including through direct mails and leaflets
- Membership – I will help recruit new members and mobilise existing ones into action by contacting ward members throughout the year
- The Branch Secretary will monitor my attendance-and report to the Branch and the LCF so that attendance and activities in the Branch can be taken into account when preparing the Panel for approved candidates.
I understand that the above requires a significant amount of time and that the Council provides financial support set out in the attachment as well as the provision of IT equipment and training.
I understand that there may be times when I cannot meet the minimum standard and I will have an initial conversation with the whips so that support can be given. I also understand that are times when the Chief Whip may need to take further action and this is set out in the attached monitoring and legal matters.
I understand that failure to comply with any part of this agreement could result in my being removed from the list of approved candidates for the London Borough of Lewisham local elections in 2022 or the future.