We’ve been given some helpful information about Councillor Net, the internal Wirral Council members’ casework portal. All our councillors were instructed to use it around two years ago, but in their wisdom, have mostly decided to ignore the memo.
Presumably this system is broken down into 22 wards, with three councillors per ward, and has been designed to keep everything tidy, manageable and nicely-populated with all the various issues regarding pot holes, street lighting, litter, dog poo, etc. as they arise. So in an ideal world, it would be giving the public a comprehensive run down of all the regular casework that the generous complement of 3 councillors per ward carry out on behalf of their voters, and all with regular updates as tasks are completed.
But it’s not quite working like that. 66 members should be subscribing to this. It’s their everyday, bread and butter work after all, undertaken on behalf of voters, and it’s what we pay them for.
We’re told it functions well (when used), and although the public cannot access it (yet), it’s a welcome nod towards at least a thin veneer of openness, transparency and accountability.
What better for we the public than a councillors’ casework management system, updating us on how busy / not busy our councillors have been with issues on the ground?
It sounds great to us because voting for somebody is a transaction after all. You invest your trust when granting your mandate in the ballot box. And then you sit, and wait, and hope for something back in return. Something to give you an idea of whether you got any value. Or was it the same old story? Was your vote simply squandered?
We think what’s needed now is a commitment to publish annual reports listing all 66 members’ names and the number of cases they’ve carried out. Rather than having to rely on placing FOI requests. What better way of engaging us, giving us transparency, something back in return and most importantly, information on councillor performance, to inform our decision on whether to vote / who to vote for next time around?
Will we re-elect somebody who’s been working hard all year round? ….. Yes.
Will we re-elect somebody who’s been swinging the lead, coasting along, doing 1 task per month, or whose name doesn’t even appear on the list? ….. No.
And guess what? That happened 25 times in 2017.
Instead of embracing the new technology and the chance to make some progress, 65 of them appear to regard Councillor Net as some sort of “threat” or a “spy in the camp”. Yes folks, imagine you’re a lazy bastard from the old school who’s been making a habit of screwing the system dry for years or even decades, a deadbeat who simply wants to attend 2 or 3 meetings per year, collect his / her allowance, not do anything to earn it, and is seeking to avoid their constituents like the plague.
The last thing he or she will want is some highly-efficient system elbowing its way in, making demands of them, and worse still, blowing them up to the waiting public once a year, telling us they’d entered nothing into its pages, and therefore appear to have done nothing all year.
So they shun it, swerve it, give it a wide berth, knowing that if they all stick together like modern day Luddites, together in solidarity, man versus machine, they’ll be in the clear.
Which sums up the18 hard right Labour councillors and their 7 Tory, alleged “opposition” colleagues. 25 deadbeat bumps on a log whom Michael Dixon discovered did the sum total of f*ck all throughout 2017.
They’re listed here, and are now otherwise known as “the untouchables”.
And due to their deliberate nobbling of this system – which we’ve all invested our Council Tax in in an attempt to help them – it’s all been rendered worthless.
If junior employees did the same, downed tools and walked away from their duties, they’d be for the high jump, rounded up, then dumped out on their ear.
But not councillors, oh no. They enjoy charmed existences and are at liberty to swan around, like they’re enjoying a buffet, picking, choosing and discarding.
So they can opt not to co-operate with any new-fangled system that threatens to expose their laziness.
That’s the clear message we’re getting at local election time. How about you, readers? Will you be voting hard right Labour or Tory, endorsing their individual and collective failure and anointing them into more years of shirking, dodging and passing the buck?
We suggest you have a long, hard think about who you vote for on Thursday May 3rd !
Toodle Pip !
See our recent post which appeared to show that only 43 councillors of the 66 in total had been bothering to upload their cases during 2017.
Way ahead of the field on performance was Green Party Councillor Pat Cleary, who’d completed 183 cases, or over 15 per month, more than the entire total for the 39 hard right Labour councillors, who trailed in with a miserable 170 cases.
And which party seems to be wilfully making a mockery of their obligations re: representing their constituents?
Step forward hard right Labour, the party in power. That’s right, those making like abusers of power, waving through austerity, complaining about Tory cuts, passing on those same cuts to staff but never to themselves, hiking the bloated salaries of senior officers and voting through policies which are Tory through and through.
We won’t go on about golf courses, luxury housing, inadequate Children’s Services, £50 million of low-interest loans to fellow councils, £137.5 million in high interest LOBO loans which finally expire in 2078 and cost 12% of your council tax year in, year out, alleged #racist Deputy leaders, the selling off of former council houses on the cheap, alleged #racist former Mayoral Consorts or over 100 foster children going missing on their watch, sensitive, hushed up disciplinary moves towards a certain very unpopular person, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. but you get the picture.