Are you being served?

The Council has updated its record of the number of issues raised by Councillors. The figures were supplied promptly this year in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Councillors interpretation of their role – and residents expectations – tend to vary. Those Councillors who regularly conduct door to door surveys and who routinely  “walk their wards” reporting public service issues tend to record the highest number of complaints.

Councillors have other responsibilities such as attending meetings. Details of attendance rates – which generally tend to be high  in York – can be found on the Councils web site (click)

Council elections are scheduled to take place in May 2019

Holgate by election – So there’s more to representing people than delivering leaflets?

Yes, making oneself accessible is important.

So how well do the present Holgate Labour councillors present themselves?

Many residents, wanting to contact their local Councillor, will turn to the Councils web pages.

Looking for the three Holgate Councillors, they may become confused. They all give their addresses as the Councils “West Offices”. So, if you want to drop a note through their letterbox, about a local issue, you will be disappointed.

Labour claim their new candidate – student leader Kallum Taylor – “lives in the Holgate Ward”. They pointedly fail to say where, or for how long he has been there. No doubt time will reveal all.

There has been no publicity about any Councillors surgeries or advice centres in Holgate, so we must assume that they are things of the past.

But perhaps representatives are so active, they anticipate issues and report them before they become problems for residents.

Well a good Councillor will indeed “walk the ward” each week and report issues to the Council.

We know how many issues each Councillor reported, in each of the first two years of the current York Council, following a response to a “Freedom of Information” request.

All the present Holgate Councillors appear to be less active than their counterparts elsewhere.

It seems that the number of issues raised by Councillors generally is reducing compared to 10 years ago when Councillors were, on average, highlighting over 200 issues per Councillor per year. This may be because standards are higher and therefore issues fewer? We doubt that.

So, what about attendance at Council Committees?

The Council publishes its own stats on meeting attendance records

Better news here, for one of the existing Holgate Councillors. Mary Cannon has a 100% attendance record at meetings. Unfortunately, she is let down by the other two Councillors who are well below the York Councillor average

So, its looks like the present Councillor team in Holgate are not as effective as they should be.

We’ll look later this week at how the by election candidates shape up. Hopefully there will be at least one local resident among them with an established  track record in working for the Holgate community.

We will see next week.  

So this is what they didn’t want you to know before you voted in the election

http://CouncillorA couple of months ago we asked – under Freedom of Information rules – for an update on the activities of City of York Councillors.

The previous year the Council had published a  list indicating the number of issues registered for action by each Councillor.

As we reported in May, we were amazed when the Council refused to provide the update “because the information might influence the result of the election”.

At the time we said that the work-rate of elected representatives was one thing that electors might reasonably expect to know before casting their ballots although in this case no of the Councillros involved were seeking election.

Our request was turned done so we referred the issue to the Information Commissioners Office (IOC).

Now the updated list has been provided (in response to a  separate FOI request lodged after 8th June).

As an aid to transparency, we publish the information here (left).

It is for individual Councillors to explain to their electors how they do their jobs, so we will not comment on individuals.

However, there remains an important issue of transparency so we will seek a ruling from the ICO on whether the York Council was right to refuse the information request in the way that it did.

Legislation on, so called, “purdah” periods has hitherto been regarded as restricting local authorities from publishing biased information which might influence voting patterns.

In the past it has not applied to individual items of correspondence where only factual information was sought.

We will let you know when we have a response.

NB. The Council also publishes a list indicating the attendance record of Councillors at meetings. Click here. Some representatives are only managing to a 60% attendance record

Extraordinary response from City of York Council to FOI request

Readers will recall that a few weeks ago we published a list of inquiries that York Councillors had recorded with the City of York Council.

The list (left) indicated how many inquiries individual Councillors had recorded during the 2015/16 year.

We submitted an Freedom of Information request asking for the up to date figures for the 2016/17 year.

The Council has now responded saying,

“This information is exempt under section 44 of the FOIA because it is considered that due to the forthcoming general election, it could affect public support for a particular party.

Should you wish to submit a new request for this information following the election, the council would be happy to consider this”.

Given that none of the York Councillors are candidates in the General Election we do wonder how voting intentions might be influenced by the publication of a factual list?

Perhaps the electors in the Hull Road and Micklegate Council by elections deserve to know how hard they might expect their new Councillors to work for them?