Friday, 14 January 2011

Office Hours

The latest Front Office statistics have been published over on my Cabinet colleague Cllr Richard Willis's Blog. Front Office is the system used by most councillors to record individual pieces of casework they do on behalf of constituents. It helps councillors and officers to keep track of issues once they have been reported to thee Council. It's also a useful guide to councillor workload.
For most of the time between 2006 and 2010 I topped the list but I'm not ashamed to have been knocked off the top spot. If publication encourages a bit of healthy competition and councillors to work harder than I'm all for it - it can only be good news for residents!
The Council's stats for May - December 2010 reveal that I reported 55 individual issues to the Council for action. This is more than many other councillors but fewer than I reported when I was a backbench councillor.
This is not surprising given most people would acknowledge that I have one of the biggest portfolios of any councillor on Reading Borough Council (I am responsible for housing, adult social care and housing). I also combine my public duties with a part-time job which I commute into London to do.
Cllr Willis is right to point out that Front Office does not record all the work that councillors do for residents.The big difference between my current role and my previous role as a backbench councillor has been the amount of time I now spend in addition to my ward work being briefed by officers on policy, representing the Council at external meetings, responding to questions and petitions councillors and from the public, and preparing for and taking part in Cabinet meetings. Although it can be exhausting I get a real kick out of all the things I do as as councillor - particularly the opportunity to meet and help people.
This data confirms that despite being elevated to the Cabinet last May I have not neglected my responsibilities to my constituents and I continue to be one of the hardest-working councillors on Reading Borough Council. You can keep in touch with my activities on a ward level over on my ward blog.

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