Monday 9 February 2015 9.47pm
I noticed this tweet from James about the community council meeting last Saturday:
“Applause for Josiah who says that community councils might as well be abolished if cllrs treat public like children and questions x answered“
The Borough & Bankside CC meetings could often be quite tedious and of little relevance to where I lived in Chaucer Ward, but the meetings became much worse with the increase in size to include Walworth. My experience is that councillors and officers certainly don't like to answer questions, especially when questioned in public, and anything too difficult for them is just swept under the carpet.
The last CC meeting I attended was in November 2013. I raised the matter of the lack of support provided to those (particularly seniors) who want to be involved in their local communities but who have faced issues at community meeting of bullying and abusive behaviour. The chair of the meeting, Councillor Martin Seaton, didn't really want to discuss the matter (where I had raised some complaints with the community engagement section of the council about the abusive behaviour that were just ignored) but I persisted and he ended up promising, in front of a room full of people, that my complaints would be properly investigated. Councillor Seaton spoke with me after the meeting and arranged to meet with me at the home of Josiah - I assume this is the same Josiah who spoke up at the meeting on Saturday. However, at the agreed time and place Councillor Seaton was not there. I tried to call him and left a message on his voicemail but he did not get back to me. So I emailed him – no reply. I then wrote Councillor Seaton a letter that I hand-delivered to Tooley Street
. The letter contained by home address, email address and telephone number but yet again (surprise, surprise) no response. I eventually had a brief conversation with Councillor Seaton some 8 weeks after the initial contact, where he suggested mediation (something I'd suggested over a year earlier) and said he had spoken to officers from the community engagement team. The officers had admitted that they were at the meeting where abusive behaviour had occurred but said they were only there to give advice not take action. The matter of lack of a proper response/investigation by community engagement is now the subject of a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman, hopefully to be before an adjudicator next month, but in the meantime it would not seem to be be much of a loss if Community council meetings were abolished.