|Trying Hard Not To 'Talk Shop' At Christmas Party|
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
Saturday 12th December: Problems with my council I-Pad.
Sunday 13th December: Catching up on the papers I have received relating to the Council’s proposal to amalgamate the junior and infants’ schools on the Strand on the Green site. The Staff and Governors of both schools are opposed to the amalgamation and it is hard to see what benefits would accrue from it. Any potential cost savings would surely be “nugatory” at best and what pupils and parents would lose in terms of personal service cannot be emphasised enough. Strangely officers have not provided an estimate of the expected savings. It is also to be regretted that officers do not appear to have followed the Council’s own policy and guidance relating to such amalgamation schemes.
Monday 14th December: Visited the Museum of London with fellow trustees of the Layton Collection Charity (I am a council appointed trustee). The Museum’s Curators are enormously grateful to Thomas Layton and the trustees for the quantity and quality of artefacts that are now in the Museum’s care. At least an eighth of the items on display in the permanent “London before London” exhibition are from the Layton Collection. The Curators are keeping their fingers crossed that they will be able to secure funding to digitise many of the ethnographic artefacts collected by Thomas Layton. This evening I attended a meeting of Hounslow’s Pension Investment Fund Committee in my new role as Chairman of the Pension Fund Board. As an observer I have no right to speak – it is very hard to stay silent (but also in strange way very therapeutic). The Committee has some crucial decisions to make over the next few months.
Wednesday 16th December: Enjoyed my Christmas meal with fellow Conservative Councillors at Café Rouge on Strand on the Green. We try hard not to “talk shop”. The restaurant was once a pub called the Steam Packet that used to be frequented by local resident Tommy Cooper. I am looking hard at how to bring discussion of the Great West Corridor Plan into the public arena in the new year.
Thursday 17th December : In the evening I attend the Overview and Scrutiny Committee as an observer. I arrived a little late but heard most of the presentation from officers about the how the Council’s digitalisation strategy will be implemented. The budget for the five linked projects is in excess of three quarters of a million pounds spread over three fiscal years. The workloads of the Committee and that of the specialist scrutiny committees that support it are enormous, and one has to say ambitious.
December 21, 2015