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WHAT DO SALFORD COUNCILLORS DO ALL DAY?
 

Star date: 30th April 2018

OVERWORKED OR PICKING UP EXPENSES FOR DOING NOWT?

With the local election just a few days away, Salford City Council has published councillors' responses to a survey of what they actually do. The survey, it should be noted, is not really for residents to be informed but more about saving the actual number of councillors per ward (3) which the Local Government Boundary Commission for England is currently reviewing.

So what do the poor loves do all day? Here's the workload, as recorded by themselves.

Full details here...


Not a week goes by at the Salford Star without a deluge of correspondence or website comments (most of which can't be published for libel) stating how councillors can't be found or don't respond to residents; or are picking up expenses for doing nothing; or are busy stuffing brown envelopes into their back pockets. So what do our local representatives do all day?

First up, it should be noted that councillors get a basic allowance of £10,509 per year but over half of them (51%) get a lot more than this for extra responsibilities. Last financial year, 2016-17, for instance, Deputy Mayors, Paula Boshell and John Merry, picked up £31,455 each in 'special allowances' and extra responsibilities payments.

Other high earning councillors included David Lancaster, £28,257; Lisa Stone, £27,366 (including £3,092 dependent carers allowance); Derek Antrobus, £24,264; Roger Jones £24,984; Bill Hinds £24,072, John Ferguson £23,716 and Tracy Kelly £23,539.

'Special responsibilities' includes being chairs of committees, providing 'Support', leading the opposition or sitting on outside bodies like Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (£2,189) and Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (£3,987).

It could be considered a nice little earner, particularly if councillors have jobs too Ė and, according to a new survey of councillors to be considered by Cabinet next week, 40% of councillors do have another job, either part time or full time.

The survey is part of a draft report to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England, which will be considering how Salford's political future will look.

The wards of Ordsall, Broughton and Irwell Riverside are getting too big for their boundaries, and the Commission will look at different scenarios to solve this, which could include new wards in the city and less councillors per ward (see previous Salford Star article Ė click here)

Obviously the Council wants to defend what it has, and wants to keep the same number of councillors per ward, and the same number of wards, with a bit of re-shuffling. The survey of councillors' workload was a part of this, to show just how many hours and meetings they stuff into their month...

According to this survey, 25% of normal (ie non-Cabinet) councillors who responded spend over 15 hours per month preparing for meetings, 53% spend over 15 hours per month attending Council committee meetings, and 41% spend over 15 hours per month attending other Council meetings.

Over 60% of Cabinet members report that they spend over 15 hours per month attending Council and committee meetings, and 38% spend over 15 hours per month preparing for these meetings.

Of 45 councillors who responded to the question, 37 said that the time they spend on council business is greater than they had expected before they became a councillor, and 35 councillors said that their workload had recently increased.

One councillor quoted in the report states the reasons being "Much more meetings on budgets and cutting staffing and services. Difficult decisions on a weekly basis" (obviously doesn't include learning basic grammar), while another states "Less support from officers as they have been made redundant"...

Incredibly, 38% of the councillors surveyed stated that they spend over 15 hours a month on political 'party business', while 24% spend over 20 hours per month on political party business.

This contrasts with 33% of the councillors surveyed stating that they spend over 15 hours per month with constituents, and 42% of councillors spending over 15 hours per month dealing with constituents' issues. At a minimum, 15 hours per month is less than two full days.

The report states: "Half of all councillors are required to manage a caseload of at least 30 cases each month, with less than a third of councillors working on fewer than 20 cases each month..."

Over half the councillors believed that the increase in workload is due to the impact of austerity on the city, as well as new technology and involvement in Greater Manchester devolution which, the report states "adds to an already pressured workload"...

"The councillors make themselves very accessible to the public through face to face
surgeries, emails, telephone calls, social media etc" the report adds "...Technology
such as social media, mobile phones and emails, has enabled the public to engage
with their councillor, in a way that wasn't previously possible. This is something that
the Council has strived to develop and encourage, however, it places additional
demands on the councillor's time."

In the survey, 45 councillors stated said that they were 'spending more, or significantly more time' communicating with their constituents via email, and 60% said that they were 'spending more, or significantly more' time communicating via social media.

The report for the Boundary Commission concludes that councillors have a "substantial workload" and take part in "onerous" decision making processes...

"The role of the councillor is changing" the Council report insists "The survey and journal entries showed that austerity has transformed both the council itself, but also the lives of constituents, and the role of the councillor is adapting to the changing landscape. Councillors must work with growing numbers of community groups, to facilitate and support people to work alongside the council in a co-productive way, as traditional service delivery is forced to be cut back."

Of course, this is all geared to the Council preserving three councillors per ward and twenty wards in the city. Interestingly, residents themselves have not been surveyed on the role and workload of councillors...


More Information on Salford City Councillors...

* Over 30% of councillors are aged over 65, while 60% are aged over 55.

* One fifth of councillors have been in office for more than 20 years, a quarter between 10 and 20 years, 26% between 5 and 10 years and 21% between 2 and 5 years.

* 72% of councillors are currently male and 28% female


The local election takes place this Thursday 3rd May. For a complete list of candidates see previous Salford Star article Ė click here


Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 08:23:37 on 03 May 2018
Now this is amusing - according to the Electoral commission - ORDSALL is getting too big! Have the locals involved in the Electoral commission actually looked at the area? If they did, they might have noticed large swathes of the council housing in the ward have been levelled. People have been moved out to other areas, Langworthy and Pendleton for example - some due to economic reasons have been shipped out to completely different cities. Massive chunks of the estate have Schools and Health Facilities on them. Of course, we do have new neighbours, as the new industries grow - those in those new industries have been looking for some place to nest. Its why on occasion teams of clerks from nearby estate agents swoop on the private estates - promising the earth if you sell your property to them. Developers are continuing to search out the nearest plots to the quays. If the Electoral commission were to look where the voting cards are being sent - and question an issue of turnout - it could be down to those working in the city during the week and going home (as is their right) at weekends. Theres an awful lot of flats this side of the canal and River Irwell that belong to "commuterville" something locals mentioned when businesses set up by the waterside

wrote
at 06:00:03 on 02 May 2018
On a battlefield in Europe during WW2: Soldier 1: "I'm hit! I'm not gonna make it! Soldier 2: "Of course you are, don't talk daft!" Soldier 1: "You have to promise me something, when you get back..." Soldier 2: "Don't worry I'll look after ya wifey and kids and treat them as my own!" Soldier 1: "No..." Soldier 2: "What then?" Soldier 1: "Always vote Labour, Phil Rossi said so! We're fighting and dieing here today so people tomorrow can have no other realistic alternative but to vote Labour in Salford Council elections! Spread the gospel of Rossi far and wide!" Soldier 1: *Snuffs it* Soldier 2: *Lays a Labour rosette on Soldier 1's face then stands up, walks into no man's land and delivers the gospel of Rossi, and the guns fell silent! Democracy and freedom was ensured forever after that day* THE END

Phil wrote
at 14:48:38 on 01 May 2018
Just seventy two hours (72hrs) to go now folks. Whatever you do, don't pass up this opportunity to do "The Democratic Thing". Yes Folks, this is your time to shine. This is your chance to exercise your democratic right to decide who will serve us and our interests in the coming years. Your ancestors suffered and sacrificed that you could have thise "right". Don't let them down now. Don't forget their sacrifice. Don't let apathy spoil the day. No! Do the right thing AND VOTE! Vote LABOUR. SALFORD LABOUR. You know that you should. Hell, we ALL know that we should ...

Felse wrote
at 07:28:16 on 01 May 2018
"Democracy is.." makes interesting points. To me it says your elected Mayor is doing more than expected. In that I praise Mayor Paul Dennett as he stepped up to a difficult job with winner's determination, pride and a hardy spirit. However my view is we should have 4 Councillors per ward, the collective pay split 4 ways, with 2 per ward earmarked for women and 2 in each ward earmarked for men. I want 50% of Salford Councillors to be under that age of 30. I want all lead committee members to be paid no more that 25% on top of a Councillor standard allowance. I want the Mayor of Salford to get not a penny more that £30,000. The two deputies, one which must be a woman, to be paid a maximum of 65% each of the Mayor limit. And I want all Salford Council assets valued and given back to each Council Tax payer's address, I estimate £12,000 to £14,000 per household rebate. It is their cash and your Council should give it back to them for every home to spend their-self.

Democracy is worth fighting for wrote
at 19:20:18 on 30 April 2018
Yes Iíve posted this before, but I think itís relevant. We need to cut the number of councillors. Remember this is going before the electoral commission, we all need to demand that the number of councillors is reduced to one per ward to re establish democracy back to Salford. Like Iíve said all along, there should be only one councillor per ward. The Labour Party in Salford want three per ward, because it would in theory take two local elections, provided everyone voted against labour, to unseat labourís control. Three councillors per ward virtually guarantees labourís unending control of Salford council. If it was one councillor per ward, we would have complete democracy, Labour could no long take the people of Salford for granted, they could lose control of the city within one election. Everyone in June, when it goes to public consultation needs to demand one councillor per ward, to restore democracy in Salford and to give back Salford its voice at election time. Please Salford star, keep the Salford people informed of this consultation or even better can you start on your site a petition for the electoral commission to have one councillor per ward to re establish democracy back to Salford. When the people fear our elected we have dictatorship, when the elected fear the people, we have democracy. The elected should always fear the people.

wrote
at 19:20:11 on 30 April 2018
I cannot understand the current situation with the City Mayor(Paul Dennett),he now I am told takes the lead on housing, planning and homelessness with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. If Salford ratepayers fund his position within Salford are we getting less of his time when he works for GMCA. Accepting that there are issues re housing, planning and homelessness in Salford do's it equate that at the end of the day that we are funding GMCA twice in some way e.g the City Mayors wages and the precept for GMCA via the rates.If you employ a person to do a job you would expect 100% of their time doing the work you pay them for, in our case running Salford to the best of his abilities,if he then go's and spends time working for GMCA it would i suggest be to the detriment of Salford as a whole. Maybe we just need to ask Andy Burnham for a refund. Or maybe its why the Deputy Mayors claim expenses as listed above; in either case we the ratepayers are copping the bill.

Felsey wrote
at 19:19:19 on 30 April 2018
Disgrace to find Salford Councillors are 72% male. I urge everyone on Thursday to vote only for women candidates. Even if women win all 20 seats the men will still be a majority. Women have more brains I believe when it comes to Community Cohesion. Forget the party flags. This Thursday please give us women your vote. I will deffo do exactly that in Ordsall Ward with my vote. Only when Salford has "equality" in representation can we build a greater future.

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