WHICH COUN­CIL­LORS GO AWOL?

Coun­cil­lors are elected to rep­re­sent you, but which are do­ing their job?

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

One of the es­sen­tial roles of coun­cil­lors is turn­ing up to meet­ings. How­ever this has not al­ways been the case for coun­cil­lors at a dis­trict and county level. LOR­CAN LOVETT re­ports on coun­cil­lors’ attendance records and the rea­sons why they may have missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to rep­re­sent their com­mu­ni­ties

MANY politi­cians have mas­tered the art of mak­ing prom­ises to the elec­torate, although fol­low­ing th­ese up can be a dif­fer­ent story.

Buck­ing­hamshire is rife with hard-work­ing coun­cil­lors who aim to ful­fil those prom­ises by con­test­ing im­por­tant is­sues at meet­ings, but the county also has its share of coun­cil­lors who have at­tended fewer than half of the meet­ings they were ex­pected to at­tend.

Dis­trict coun­cil­lors can af­fect de­ci­sions made on rub­bish col­lec­tion, hous­ing and plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions and county coun­cil­lors’ de­ci­sions af­fect trans­port, ed­u­ca­tion, so­cial care and li­braries. Both tiers of coun­cil­lors are also en­ti­tled to ex­penses.

This pa­per has ob­tained the attendance records of Chiltern Dis­trict, South Bucks Dis­trict and county coun­cil­lors pub­lished here.

Some coun­cil­lors who do not reach over the 50 per cent attendance mark have ar­gued adamantly that they rep­re­sent the com­mu­nity through other work and meet­ings out­side of this list, or that tech­nol­ogy keeps them afoot of their wards even when they are not present.

There is of course of­ten per­fectly rea­son­able ex­pla­na­tions for low attendance fig­ures. Coun­cil­lors such as Derek Lacey for Ridge­way in Che­sham may be lower down the list due to health prob­lems pre­vent­ing attendance de­spite their ded­i­cated spirit. Oth­ers may have more con­tentious ex­pla­na­tions – or even no ex­pla­na­tions at all – for their ab­sences from meet­ings, which can be be­tween 12 to 24 a year for dis­trict coun­cil­lors and up to 52 for county coun­cil­lors de­pend­ing on the per­son’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

We asked coun­cil­lors with be­low 50 per cent attendance about their records.

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