'The More I Find Out The Less I Know'
A week in the life of a local councillor as told by Sam Hearn
Cllr Sam Hearn who represents the Riverside ward in Chiswick, is chairman of the Chiswick Area Forum. He has written this account of his week as a busy local councillor
Friday 16th October: Trying to organise meetings around other people’s diaries - a regular head ache.
Saturday 17th October: Scanning the Chiswick4 discussion forum when I should be doing other stuff. Looking once again at how we recruit candidates for local elections, and what we expect of them and what we really think the role of elected councillors should be. We can never satisfy everybody all of the time, but what are the cores skills needed by all candidates/councillors and what is an acceptable level of performance?
Sunday 18th October: A sudden change of plan. Off to Tring to help my sister and brother in law navigate their barge through five locks in quick succession. It is hard to believe the canal signpost informing us that we are only 38 miles from Brentford. Able to log on to my council I-Pad as I am chauffeured home.
Monday 19th October: Printing off papers and trying to get my head around local authority finances. As the old song says “there are more questions than answers and the more I find out the less I know.”
Tuesday 20th October: At the Civic Centre in the morning with Cllr Todd looking at the Council’s monthly financial monitoring report. The net projected overspend of £5.5m in 2015/16 is a matter for concern but mitigating actions appear to be in place. However, areas of expenditure over which LBH has little control (at least in the short term) remain worrying e.g. the £4m overspend on temporary accommodation and the £1.9m overspend on B&B. The financial pressures on the Council are significant and unrelenting with further reductions in Government funding still to filter through in 2016/17 and beyond. Back to Hounslow, in the early evening, to attend the quarterly meeting of the Area Forum Chairs. Some sensible ideas are emerging for making the Area Forums more effective. Good to be talking rubbish again! Interesting to hear from officers engaged on the front line trying to educate and inform and change the delinquent behaviour of certain residents.
Wednesday 21st October: At the evening meeting of the Chiswick Pier Trust. I am amazed, yet again, at all the community activities flowing through and around the Trust. Why not Google the CPT website for more information? Heavy duty discussions continue on how best to improve the facilities for all the core users. The building has proved to be remarkably adaptable but the Trust has become a victim of its own success and must respond to the changing needs of users.
Thursday 22nd October: Felt the urge to contribute on the ChiswickW4 discussion forum. Had a long phone conversation with a resident from Bolton Road about the CPZ proposals. On reflection I probably bored the poor devil to death. Note to self – lighten up a little.
October 23, 2015