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Thread: Overstaffing on UK councils?

  1. #1

    Default Overstaffing on UK councils?

    I've noticed that my local bourough council has not 5, not 15 but 35 councillors. Many areas even have 2 allocated to them. Does anyone have an idea why this is? It strikes me as a little odd.

    I may just be nieve but I think 1 person representing each town rather than subsection of town would be sufficient but I'm not really very well versed in what they do all day.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPurple View Post
    I've noticed that my local bourough council has not 5, not 15 but 35 councillors. Many areas even have 2 allocated to them. Does anyone have an idea why this is? It strikes me as a little odd.

    I may just be nieve but I think 1 person representing each town rather than subsection of town would be sufficient but I'm not really very well versed in what they do all day.
    Well how many people live in your borough? My borough has about 1 councillor for every 4500 people. There are 19 reasonably equal electoral areas, 3 councillors from each, 57 in total. If your council has two from some areas and one from others, that may be to take account of different population sizes.

    If you are a councillor your official job description is to make policy decisions for the civil servants / council employees to carry out - or helping to draw up contracts for a private firm to carry out the closest thing to your policy the market can provide on your budget.

    If you are a councillor more of your actual time will be spent dealing with trying to help people navigate the bureaucracy so that they can get the services they are entitled to, or trying to fix problems with the services that are already provided. The idea is that you can take some of that knowledge about how the council services go wrong, and then use it to make better policy in the future... well that's the idea anyway.

    It's hard to say how many is too many/ not enough when it comes to elected representatives:

    If you have more, then you can have more diversity of view points and experience, more people gathering information from contact with the general public, and maybe that equals better policy. More people also means the power and responsibility of each individual person is reduced somewhat by being shared by more people, and having more people who have to say yes means more people who might say no, and clear decisions can be harder to get.

    If you have fewer people, they are more recognised, more accountable, there's more pressure to get results... but that can often mean politicians make a big stand on some eye catching issue, they come up with some simplistic solution that sounds good, but goes wrong in practice because it has negative effects that weren't picked up on because of lack of experience, information, the right sceptical person asking the right questions ect...

    In politics, no-one really knows the right answer, but they're always sure everyone else is wrong.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPurple View Post
    I may just be nieve but I think 1 person representing each town rather than subsection of town would be sufficient but I'm not really very well versed in what they do all day.
    how do, fellow Lancastrian? (east lancs, here: Pennines)
    Clara's given you a bit, but the Ward Councillor role, and it's 'pay', varies from place to place:
    http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/councilanddem...ouncillor.aspx
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-20967913

    basically, it's about dealing with your local people on locally affecting issues. this can be from asking for an increased police presence for youth pests (including asking for curfews) to having input on local infrastructure development.

    sounds great, but it doesn't always work too well: one former councillor 'round these parts was nearly hounded out of his house by youths who had disliked his influence with the police; his successor ruined our 'winter-proof' road surface by having it tarmacked over, making the hillroads impassable once snowed.

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