Bid To Make Councillors 'More Accountable' To Voters

But Council says releasing casework figures would not be accurately reflect workload

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Councillors should be 'accountable' to those who vote them in and Hounslow Council should release casework figures to prove how hard they work, a meeting at Chiswick Town Hall was told this week. However, the Council's Cabinet representatives said it was unlikely this would happen.

Members of Hounslow Council's Cabinet visited for a question and answer session with Chiswick residents, and a question was submitted asking to have casework figures released to the public.

Councillor Ed Mayne (Customer Care, Performance), said this would not be an accurate reflection of the way councillors worked. He said there was an enquiry system for councillors, which aimed to answer questions within seven days, but many councillors went directly to officers for answers. This method was not logged. One Chiswick councillor had a zero casework entry but this was because she always went directly to officers and not because she hadn't done any work.

A member of the audience complained that councillors did not always answer emails.

Lead member Councillor Steve Curran said it was expected councillors would respond to emails. He said he received 500 a week on average and he tried to answer them within two weeks. Some required complicated answers and this took time.

"All councillors should be responding to emails and at least triage them if they couldn't respond immediately."

Local resident Martin Cherry has launched a petition on Hounslow Council's website, calling on Hounslow Council to increase the accountability of its Councillors by publishing their cumulative casework figures.

He says, "An important part of being a Councillor is to help residents with their questions - we need to understand who is actively helping local people when it comes to elections. We would like the casework figures to be published online from the next administration on a quarterly basis so we can make an informed decision at election time."

The petition currently has 49 signatures and is open until March 12.

March 9, 2018

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