Saturday, March 01, 2008

Casework, casework, casework

That is my excuse for not having left many posts lately.

This week I have processed around 200 items and three nights I have been still sending emails at 1 o'clock in the morning.

If you are thinking about throwing your hat in the ring in the local elections this year, do be sure you know what to expect!

Even moving to part-time work has not helped, in fact it has made it worse. Because now I have more time to knock on doors, to meet with people and to go to meetings, which means I take away more issues. And of course each requires a letter or an email to a problem solver. You plough through a huge pile, go to bed full of satisfaction that the "to do" pile has been considerably slimmed down, and then the next time you log on to the system, the replies have arrived and they all have to be processed too.

And then there are all the consultations - what do I think about the looked-after children review, or the KPIs for the coming year, or the plans for housing developments, or nursery closures or budget proposals. And I cannot make a decision without consulting relevant people myself, so that is another round of people to talk to and inevitably they raise other things at the same time.

And every meeting generates some good ideas or new challenges that demand further meetings.

Not that I am complaining mind you, I absolutely LOVE it. Being a Councillor is utterly wonderful and very rewarding and I would not have it any other way.

But anyone who thinks it is money for old rope wants their bumps felt, frankly.

(Now you know why the blog entries have fallen off a bit of late. By 1am last night when I sent the last of 61 emails I was far too tired to write another thing).

Thanks for coming back to see if I had resurfaced!


Anonymous said...

(Scouseboy)Hi Louise, and as a daily viewer, Yes I have missed your blog entries. Keep up the hard work in Kenny. I am sure the electorate will recognise the good work yourself and Wendy have put in come May.

Robert said...

Hello Louise

Are you up for re-election in May? I came to the conclusion long ago that door knocking has to focus on identifying potential Labour voters and 'don't knows' so that you can concentrate on your supporters during the week before the election.

If you ask if people have an issue or a problem they feel almost obliged to find you one and the closer you get to an election the harder iot becomes to meet their expectations. What counts is your work in your ward surgeries, the meetings you attend. It's a bit like being a beat bobby. From years of community activity I know that other residents appreciate seeing councillors at meetings. The downside is that they soon notice when they miss a few meetings.

In our part of Nottingham, Dunkirk and Lenton ward, where we have two great Labour councillors and a strong Partnership Forum which was formed by local groups and individuals 12 years ago, we have highs and lows. A participative democracy is something people should be able to dip in and out of which means when there are issues the meetings will be better attended, so don't get to frustrated!

I'm not sure I would want to be a backbench councillor in today's cabinet type councils, so I am full of admiration for what you do. Personally I am in favour of statutory elected community (parish) councils which are chaired by the ward councillor and have their own budgets (I'm also in favour of single member wards and PR based on added members drawn from the highest losers and have been since I attended my first Labour Party ward selection meeting in Wembley in 1960 when I was 16 and in the Young Socialists. It struck me then and the feeling has never left me, that if we a first past the post selection system isn't good enough for us why is it good enough for the electorate?).

I enjoy your blog as it lets me see another part of the world through the eyes of someone I can easily identify with. You have a lovely one-to-one, chatty, writing style.