Monday, 21 December 2009

Six months in - the stats

It has been just over six months since I was elected to Cornwall Council. I think now is the time to report back on my performance – statistics wise.

My role as a councillor has been full-time and then some. I have undertaken no other paid work during this period. The Council website presently records that I have an attendance record of 92%.

The stats show that since June, there have been 29 meetings of the various committees that I sit on. Of these, I have attended 24. There were three meetings that I could not attend as I was at another Cornwall Council meeting at the same time (recorded as “apologies due to council business.”) The remaining two meetings that I missed were of the Strategic Planning Committee (dealing with Binhamy Farm, Bude and the Davidstow wind turbine applications). In both these cases, I had given archaeological advice on the applications in my former role as an employee of the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council. I therefore had a prejudicial interest and would not have been able to participate in the debate.

I feel I could legitimately claim to have a 100% attendance record.

As MK Group Leader, I have also set out to attend meetings of certain committees of which I am not a member in order to better understand how the Council operates. The records show that I have attended 17 such meetings in this period (recorded as “in attendance” in the stats) – the fourth highest figure for a councillor.

But this is not in any way the full picture. For all councillors, there are numerous extra meetings, briefings and informal gatherings that are not deemed ‘official’ meetings and therefore not counted.

To take last week as an example, I attended the Waste Panel on Monday (counted) and then spent three days at a Public Inquiry (not counted). In the previous week, I was at three official meetings – Full Council, Planning Policy Panel and the Central Sub-Area Planning Committee. Informal meetings included a scrutiny session on the budget process, a meeting of councillors from the China Clay Area about the eco-town and a briefing on the Council’s plans for carbon reduction. For information (and/or sympathy), extras included two meetings about the upcoming Public Inquiry into the Incinerator, a Parish Council meeting, a meeting of the board of ClayTAWC and I finished off the week with a gathering of MK’s National Executive.

There is also, of course, the challenge of addressing issues from local parishioners when not stuck in meeetings.

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