What do #Croydon’s councillors actually do for their communities?

MISSING: Mayor Graham Bass (Councillor for Purley) - N.B. this is just banter, I have nothing against G-Man's administration or personhood

N.B. This is not a politicised criticism of local parties or their respective councillors, this is more an exercise to learn more about councillors and their work in Croydon – with best intentions and no malice. SAFE. :)

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As I work to improve my local community of Purley, I, naturally, look at others who are doing the same thing to see where our efforts and interests intersect and are making a difference.

Local govt is one such area that I continue to look to for community-centred inspiration and – as such – the work of local councillors is something that is of increasing interest to me.

A definition of the role of local councillors can be found on the Croydon council site:

Your councillor is the person elected every four years to represent your area.  They can help if you are dissatisfied with a council service by advising or directing you to someone who can help sort out your problem and can sometimes progress the case on your behalf.  This is often done in advice surgeries where you can meet with the councillor for your ward and discuss your problem.

That said:

I have no idea who my councillors are*, what they do and where/why/how they are doing it.

In part, this stems from my own apathy and ignorance -I could very easily have checked the Croydon council site or use google – however, I think there is also a duty on the part of local govt. representatives to remain visible in their local communities, as a matter of course, to  improve channels of communication between them and the public and increase confidence in their works.

It seems, from an enlightening exchange on Twitter last night that many Croydon locals are similarly in the dark about their local representatives:

So, QUESTIONS FOR CROYDONERS:

Have you ever met you councillor in person?

What do you think about your local councillor’s profile and activities? 

If you are a councillor: What do you find hardest and/or most rewarding about your role? Do you think charges of invisibility from the public are fair – or is it a two-way street and the public should take an active interest?

*Obvs, not now I googled them for the purposes of this post! ;)

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About jonathanrose

Raconteur. Intellectual. Showerman.
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10 Responses to What do #Croydon’s councillors actually do for their communities?

  1. annegiles says:

    We have three in Selsdon. Dudley Mead in charge of housing. Sarah Bashford deals with arts, parks, etc. Phil Thomas is the recycling, parking, roads, etc. man. I deal mostly with him and he has a reputation for replying straight away, which he does. Examples: the company who used to take our rubbish often left bins and rubbish in the road, so they now use another company, who are fine. If there are any mistakes, which there were in the beginning, this was dealt with straight away. Holes in the road are dealt with quickly. Faulty street lights as well. Grit bins needing replenishing also dealt with. Dumped vehicles too. Queries about parking and parking tickets. Faulty traffic lights. Extra recycling boxes needed – dealt with. So all is well here.

  2. Kapwoman says:

    Until I became active in my community through the New Addington Peoples’ Carnival, and also now New Addington Pathfinders – I had no idea who my Ward Councillors were,or even what they did.

    Pathfinders actively encourages residents to look after each other and their area and report issues. In the first instance – problems with pot-holes etc should be reported to the Council (via website or phone) but when not actioned, or for issues outside of the general remit, we (Pathfinders) either pass these to the Councillors,or pass their details to residents.

    Unfortunately, it seems some Ward Councillors in some locations in the Borough are more active than others. I also question how effective they can be when politics plays such a large part. Does anyone think Independent Ward Councillors would be more beneficial as views directly of the residents (and not those of any political party) would be all that mattered?!

  3. I used to be a Croydon councillor way back in the last century. It is difficult for councillors to make themselves known to everyone. As Timothy Godfrey has pointed out there are about 10,000 voters in each ward. Also Croydon has a fairly fluid population – people are moving in and out all the time. And most councillors have a job (We don’t want all retired people representing us). So pressures on time are considerable.
    Having said that, some councillors are much more accessible and effective than others. I remember back in the 1960s and 70s Coun Vit Burgos (Waddon) who became a legend helping the poor and homeless in the borough. Today there are some councillors who make good use of social media sites but the vast majority don’t. Some frankly seem to be in it for prestige and the expenses.
    I also think there is a responsibility on residents to get to know who their councillors are and what is going on in the Council – it affects all of us after all. If you have a residents’ group in your area join that – there is often quite a lot of liaison between residents’ groups and their councillors.
    Above all – if you don’t like what your councillors are doing, or not doing, organise campaigns and exercise your vote at the next Council elections.

  4. Hi Jonny,

    Funny you should post this today, as I was at the Bryon Centre in Old Coulsdon this morning for the consultation meeting about the Children’s Centres funding cuts. These will dramatically affect Chipstead Valley Children’s Centre where I attend with my kids and volunteer. It’s a lifeline in the community for families here.

    The Councillor there I spoke to today was Debbie/Debby but I can’t find her listed on Croydon Council’s site to find out exactly who she is or how you could contact her.

    The only other person I’ve met is Graham Bass, Councillor and Mayor of Croydon because he kindly supported and came to open Purley Festival last year.

    I know of my Councillors, as David says, because I read my Coulsdon West Resident’s Association information. They’ve just joined us on Twitter too at @CWRATweet

    Wendy

  5. LordKenley says:

    I hold strong views on this. There is an onus on the individual to discover who their councillor is and engage with them. Very few people bother to do this which is, to my mind, appalling.

    It’s easier than ever to engage with both councillors and local authority officials. All the info you need about councillors, consultations, elections etc can be found a council’s website. It’s also in your own self interest to engage with your local representative. You might just need them to help you out one day.

  6. I got Margaret Mead, as I am Heathfield.

    Margaret Mead who has just privatised the Care Homes around here, leading to wages being halved and the decent staff leaving in droves for better wages elsewhere. It happens every time, she was warned, and she still did it. That’s the kind of stubborn stupidity I have to put up with.

    Sadly this is a safe Tory seat. So she’ll get to carry on wrecking things for quite some time it would appear. My fellow constituents appear to be equally blind/ stubborn/ daft.

    • firegut says:

      When we first moved here we received leaflets advising us we were in Fairfield ward and also in Waddon ward, which didn’t help clarify things at first!

  7. Croydon Sevadars says:

    Councillor Jeet Bains is actively involved as Chairperson of Croydon Gurudwara, St. James Road, where he has recently overseen the questionable redundancy of the three long-term resident priests, much to the disgust of the congregation. Integrity and ethics at every level are expected and he has lost considerable respect within the Sikh community for his involvement.

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