Here are some examples of best practice that every Community Councillor should follow in their relationship with West Dunbartonshire elected members.
- Remember EVERY WDC Councillor is a 'politician', even if they stand as Independent. They have a political agenda that should, but may not be, in the best interests of your community. The local notoriety, past positions, friendship with Community Councillors, favours done for your Community Council etc., are NOT how you should judge them; rather judge their ACTIONS [past and future] in bettering your community.
- Treat each WDC Councillor as an individual. Work to create a positive, productive relationship. They, and you, are elected representatives of your community. Expect the best from them - and give it yourself. Always speak and act for your community and never just talk about your personal opinions. Expect your WDC Councillors to do the same, and not to be concerned about their political allegiance. Use objective evidence.
- Expect them to attend your meetings. If they miss a meeting, politely ask where they were? If they attended another meeting or event, consider asking why it took priority over a meeting of the Community Council.
- Put a WDC Councillors Report or Question Time on the regular meeting agenda - where they can be asked about issues important to the community.
- When an issue is addressed, get a promise of ACTION from them, with agreed TIMESCALES and to return to REPORT OUTCOMES. If appropriate, also agree what the Community Council will do about the issue [i.e. meeting relevant WDC Officers or Councillors]. Put this on future agendas to ensure your promises, and theirs, are followed through.
- Make sure they receive the same papers and other information that your Community Councillors receive, and at the same time. Ensure they know about all meetings, including committee meetings, at the same time as Community Councillors.
- Allow them to speak to any appropriate item on the agenda. Whenever possible do not call on them first, to prevent their comment framing the debate, or last, to prevent their position from influencing a decision. They should not dominate debate, nor should they express a preference on an issue relating to the internal working of the Community Council. They should make no comment on an issue of order, constitution or election of Community Council officers.
- Do not confuse the apolitical nature of Community Councils with your duty to comment on the policies and actions of the leadership of West Dunbartonshire Council. These policies will shape the actions officials take, and will affect your community. You have a duty to comment on WDC policies as they affect your community; this could as easily be to compliment as criticise.
- When you contact one WDC Councillor outside a meeting, copy the correspondence to all the WDC Councillors who are ex officio members of your Community Council.
- When you seek support from one WDC Councillor, seek the same from all equally.
- In all dealings with them, have no regard to their political affiliation. Never refer to it at meetings or in the publications of your Community Council. When you refer to a group of WDC Councillors, for example when discussing a policy that has support or opposition along party lines, give the individual names of each WDC Councillor and make no reference to political groupings.
- A WDC Councillor must be an ex officio member of the Community Council, without voting power.