Buried on the council website is an interesting table, showing councillors’ attendance at certain council meetings (full council meetings, scrutiny, Cabinet (including subcommittees) and other council committees (such as Audit/Appeals).
I was pleased to be one of many who insisted this information is important to have in the public domain. I think we can be reasonable pleased with the first effort council officers have come up with to allow residents to see whether they are being properly represented (or at least whether they are turning up – contribution levels vary dramatically) by their ward councillors in meetings that involve the running of the whole town, rather than just their ward.
I’m not convinced the table has all of the meetings it could have included, and with different councillors on different committees (and therefore expected to attend different, and differing numbers of, meetings) it is not quite as useful as it could be. But this is the first year, so I’ll check it out again next year.
It should also be noted that there is more to the role of being a councillor than being a great orator in the council chamber. However I do think it is important that people at least turn up and therefore the residents of the ward they represent get a say in how the town is run.
With all bar one (Licensing sub-committee A!) council meetings for the calendar year 2015 over the table stands at:
Bold = Blenheim Park Ward councillor.
*Known health problems
- Only 18 out of 51 councillors managed to achieve 100% attendance (although many of the others will have sent substitutes and attended as a substitute for others)
- Of the four councillors (excluding Graham Longely who is unwell) who could reasonably have been expected to attend 80% or more council meetings, I’m pleased that none of them are Conservatives and not surprised that two of them were elected under the UKIP banner.
- I leave the reader to draw their own conclusions on the attendance record of the three Blenheim Park councillors….