Thursday, 23 April 2009

I think its time... name and shame.

You may remember that I emailed a bunch of councillors about my continuing bonnet resident bee of Discretionary Housing Payments.

So far only two have replied, JoCo (who simply informed me he was passing it on to the relevant portfolio holder) and David Trimble, who obtained a response from the Housing Benefits service itself.

I was rather hoping for better. I suppose JoCo could claim to be a bit busy and, although DT didn't provide me with a personal response, he actually did the most out of the lot of them which is pretty good considering he's not my local councillor and I'd wrongly presumed that he was still the portfolio holder for the Housing Benefits service.

But three councillors didn't send me any reply at all and to be honest, I'd have thought that these three would be the ones who would have the greatest reason, or even obligation, to. They are;

Andrew Price

Part of my plan was to write to the leaders of all three political groups on the Council. Cllr Price is the leader of the Conservatives.

I would have thought that it would have been the opposition's job to challenge the ruling party over issues of poor service. However Cllr Price doesn't seem interested. Yet in what can only be described as something approaching breathtaking cynicism, Price proposed an amendment to the budget at the Council meeting on 9 March asking for more welfare advisers for all areas by 2009. Since when have the bloody Tories been interested in 'welfare advisers'?

Gary Long

Update; have pulled my criticism of Cllr Long as I have recently heard from him and some significant personal issues have got in the way apparently. He tells me he'll come back to me in a couple of weeks.

Cat Arnold

This is the one that made me most cross. Cllr Arnold is one of the councillors for the ward in which I live. I'd always assumed that she would therefore have something approaching an obligation to respond to a constituent's concern. However, it appears that she doesn't give a shit. Its not clear whether she doesn't give a shit about the views of one of her constituents or whether she doesn't give a shit about the mismanagement of DHPs and the possibility that it has contributed to the considerable rise in evictions. Or maybe both. In my view, that makes her a shit councillor.

If you have a look at the councillors' profiles on the NCC website (links above) you will find this standard paragraph on (I think) all of them-

"As one of your Local Councillors it is my job to take account of your views. I need your feedback to help make informed democratic decisions about issues which affect everyone."

What a lovely thought. Its a pity that, in three case at least, its total bollocks.

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