WHICH COUNCILLORS GO AWOL?
Councillors are elected to represent you, but which are doing their job?
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.