Local Councillors - the point of them?

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Thursday 17 September 2009 1.12pm
There are two (operational) ones in my ward (I don't particularly want to name names). I wrote to both of them on July 27th - no response from either of them. Then one of them was asked by Simon Hughes to deal with me. Still nothing. I wrote reminding nominated councillor that I was waiting for them to contact me. I got a holding email to say give them until the end of the week - that was August 5th.

Nothing, until a call on September 8th (a month later!) to say they had been on holiday and were still looking into the matter and would call me back at the end of the week. Guess what - I'm still waiting.

I just wonder, therefore, what the point of them is. And, where do I go from here? Any advice gratefully received.

Frustrated of Southwark.
Thursday 17 September 2009 1.37pm
I know what you mean. I had asked one whom I don't mind naming (Anood). I initally left her a message which she subsequently returned to say she would get back to me properly when she had a moment. I subsequently saw her on the last election day out and about (presumably for votes - they got mine) and she promised that she would investigate/get back in touch. I could've sworn that was in June (?) and still no word. I am thinking of standing as a councillor (although I think of lots of things) as I am sure I could do a better job than that.

I would call Simon's office and politely ask them to sort it out. If you still don't hear, I would reconsider my voting position at the next election.
Thursday 17 September 2009 1.39pm
The are meant to give democratically accountable leadership to the local council (and to hold said leadership to account). But in practice they seem to be turning into glorified social workers, case workers and local government ombudsmen. Which may or may not be healthy for local democracy depending on your point of view. I imagine their workload is very high and that in many cases the time off work they get to perform their duties nowhere near covers the caseload they have. I'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and drop another email to ask about progress. I presume there is just nothing to report back yet or they would have been in touch.
Thursday 17 September 2009 1.48pm
Neil raises an interesting point but these people make a positive decision to stand for election, even though most of them work full-time elsewhere. When these people stand for election, they promise to help local people with community problems. The fact is that these people are paid 10,000 odd per year just for the privilege of being a councillor. Then, on top of that, they get paid extra for each and every council meeting they attend and for any 'special responsibilities' that they take on (such as chairing a particular panel).

Therefore, a busy workload just doesn't cut the Mustard for plain ignorance as is the case with La Martinet's predicament and indeed my own. A delay of a couple of days, yes, that can be put down to a busy workload but otherwise...
Thursday 17 September 2009 1.52pm
Neil sums it up quite nicely. My experience was of a never ending demand on my time, with little thanks, then the perennial moan 'we only see you at elections'. I never got time off work either.
Thursday 17 September 2009 2.22pm
Only once in my life have I been in a situation which involved Councillors. Sadly it was an experience that has coloured me for life. The story would be too long to relate, (even for me,) but I walked away with the impression that Councillors are there to toe the party line on contentious issues.
Thursday 17 September 2009 2.36pm
Points taken about workload but in this particular case, both of them already knew about the issue and know it is a matter of some urgency.

Unfortunately, because of the time issue mentioned above, I can't "give them the benefit of the doubt" and just hold on until they decide it's my turn. I could do with help/advice pretty quick smart.

So, one total lack of response and another who makes out they're on the case but can't/won't follow through - meanwhile, I'm driven to despair.

Where else do I go?

And yes, I shall make feelings known come local elections time.

PS Caravan Club?!
Thursday 17 September 2009 2.59pm
name and shame them on here and someone can then forward to them a link of this page - bet that'll do the trick! Otherwise try the CAB or suchlike or maybe a solicitor or even people on this site.

Good luck!
Thursday 17 September 2009 3.31pm
Fact...there are way too many local councillors. that is why they are such rubbish, the talent pool is rather diluted
Thursday 17 September 2009 3.50pm
boroughpaul wrote:
Fact...there are way too many local councillors.

But the problem here is clearly a result of too much workload for the councillors we do have. Surely reducing the number, without doing anything about the caseload they have, would only worsen the problem.

Personally I would prefer to radically alter the type of work we expect councillors to do.
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