One Month a Councillor
I have been a councillor for one month.
It has been a very busy month:
Here is a taster of what I have been doing:
I had a one to one from an officer from Democratic Services outlining all my responsibilities as a new councillor.
I met all the directors of service and heard how Sefton Council works. It took one and a half days.
I participated in a really excellent participatory planning committee training.
I received a laptop and some IT training to facilitate organising all the council work I will do.
I had a two to one training session with the Labour Leader and the Labour Whip.
I signed my pledge to the council witnessed by the Chief Executive.
I attended two Labour Group meetings and two full council meetings which included the inauguration of the new mayor Cllr June Burns and the confirmation of members of committees for the year.
I met with my colleagues in my ward Cllrs Myers and Doyle to plan our activities.
We met the Southport Operations Officer and also representatives from Southport Community Centre.
I inputted my diary with all the meetings I have to attend for the year and began to work out how I could fit in specific ward work.
I worked out a “ward work” timetable.
I visited some constituents with keen issues I had picked up during the election campaign.
I visited ward members re various issues in a shadowing capacity with one of my ward colleague councillors.
I attended the High Park Fun Day at Bishop David Shepherd School.
I planned some community project ideas I want to present to the other councillors in our ward.
I responded to a constituent’s enquiry about tree planting and dog fouling notices.
I wrote up a list of outstanding issues and sent them to the Operations Officer and have been working through the subsequent responses.
Official Council Work:
I went on a planning visit to four different sites.
I read papers for the two committees I sit on.
I attended Planning Committee.
Labour Party Activity:
I continue to work as women’s officer for Southtport Labour Party and so:
• I worked on MEP elections.
• planned coffee and politics sessions for the month I chaired a Coffee and Politics session.
• I attended Venezuela Support Group event in Liverpool
• I attended Southport CLP Executive Committee meeting.
• Distributed an newsletter on my women’s officer activities
• I did a webinar training session for National Policy Forum and applied the learning to a coffee and politics
• I attended the public Clinical Commissioning Group meeting.
• I worked on an application to participate in a political artist/activitist intervention in London and
In drawing comparisons with working as a theatre maker all this reminds me of the early days of setting up Triangle Theatre: the orientation/learning work that had to be done, the investigation of the space one might be able to occupy and the identification of participant groups and key activities, the endless list-making, background reading and training. Most of all I can see many similarities in the variation of activities and the newness of everything as well as familiarities, making me think, as I did as a youngish theatre maker (I began professionally in my early thirties): “I was meant to do this.”
As a youngish theatre maker prior to a career in theatre I had worked in Education so the terrain seemed familiar. I had been in receipt of arts funding from council committee decision making.
As a new councillor I can see all this from the other side of the table except arts funding seems non-existent and education no longer presides with totality within local government.
I sit on Planning and Adult Social Care and Health.
In a broad sweep and keeping to the comparisons simple: one deals with use of space and the other deals with actions and decisions affecting vulnerable people.
So this is content. I will write about form next time.