Thursday, 5 March 2009

The Busy-ness Stakes: February

A slightly belated round-up of self-accredited activity by local blogging politicians for February (see here for January).

Richard Willis has emailed his promise to provide an update on his activities, but it seems we must continue to wait.

Conservative councillor for Caversham, Dave Luckett, offers a monthly update.

Redlands LibDem Councillor Glenn Goodall decides to report weekly (1, 2, 3 and 4).

Green activist Rob White offers a rundown of his activity.

While Reading List is glad to see that reporting continues, a number of questions must be raised about the quality and content of the reports.

Dave Luckett says he "attended a dinner", received "countless calls" and "raised more issues", while Rob White is similarly vague. If these reports are to have any meaning then surely accurate data must be forthcoming.

Oranjepan asks:
Do you think your representative represents you effectively?


Update: Thank you, Richard.


For full details of 'Who is Reading's Hardest Working Councillor?' click here (see sidebar).


  1. I'm sorry but details of phone calls/emails/letters and issues raised on behalf of residents must remain confidential. So I will have to continue to be vague.

    I'm sure you wouldn't like it if you needed help from your local Councillor, only for details to appear on a blog.

  2. Err Dave, please reread the text.

    I am asking you to provide data, not details: ie how many phone calls/emails/letters have you received and dealt with?

    It's important you attended a dinner last month - we wouldn't want you to starve now, would we!

  3. Thanks for the feedback. I didn't keep a tally of phone calls/email/letters from last month, I will try and do so for this month.

    I attended two dinners, one I had Steak and Ale pie, the other was a curry. Both were lovely.

  4. In answer to your question, my answer is "Yes". I really don't see the point of COuncillors (or anyone else for that matter) logging every minute bit of information about their work. The exercise is futile. My councillor might attend a long meeting - and sleep all the way through it - but phone an officer and resolve a problem for dozens of people in a few minutes. Mindless activism is not the purpose of representation. Blog away by all means, chaps and chapesses, but remember, it's your ideas that are interesting, not your activities. Leave that for your personal diaries.

  5. Oranjepan - Being a bit harsh on Cllr Luckett I think! I suspect the 'dinners attended' were both added in to show he's human (a bold move for a Tory ;) ). That said, I've chosen not to note all my Lib Dem based actions, as I'm not sure anyone is really interested in branch meetings(?).

    Anon 15.35 - No need to be anonymous on this blog, I thought it was all about openness and showing all sides of the story, I may be wrong.

    Anyway, your point. It's a blog so the clue is in the title i.e. its an online personal diary. I for one am all for politicians being more open, and blogs are a step towards that.

    I can only tell you why I blog my activities. I do it so as residents can see what I've been doing for them, and a bit of incite into the life of a cllr. My weekly updates remain the most read stories on my blog, so some people must be interested - If you don't like it then don't read it.

  6. Thanks for the comments.

    Glenn, I did have my tongue planted metaphorically in my cheek there...

    Anon, the council runs a tracking system to keep a check on councillor activity, which is intended to ensure that requests are followed up efficiently and don't get lost in the bureaucratic system. There is a statutory obligation to respond to these official requests because councillors are elected with a democratic mandate.

    It is a simple extension of the principle of accountability to ask questions about the real level of effective work undertaken by our public representatives, which goes to help inform our voting decisions and ensure the best candidate is elected.

    If you (or any other member of the public) is ever unhappy with our politicians then having an accurate, relevant and objective data set is an essential aid to improving our systems of government - information feedback is the tool which prevents chaos!

  7. To answer the criticisms of my being general with my casework item reporting in my monthly report I have done a bit of work and here are some numbers. But before I do that I am defining a casework item as when I have not been able to answer a resident's query on the doorstep and I have had to contact another agency -- Council, police, Railtrack, etc. -- or where a resident has requested some work to be done and I have had to contact another agency.

    Since the local elections in May 2008 residents in Park Ward have raised 221 casework items with me. I have completed, replied -- where one was required -- and closed 147 of these.


"Reading List... is fantastic, it could help revolutinise politics in Reading"
Matt Blackall

Matt Brady

Adrian Windisch

Reading Geek Night

"A bloggers digest of the Berkshire blogosphere"

"An easily accessible collection of Berkshire's excellent blogs"
The Cookham Blogger

"An excellent digest of the thoughts of local bloggers"
Reading Guide