Does Havering have too many councillors?

There are 54 councillors in Havering’s council chamber. It’s impossible to justify 54 councillors for 250,000 people. This ratio is only apparently democratic. Councillors are expensive and get in the way of good government.

Sadiq Khan, London’s Mayor, represents 8.2 million people.
The GLA has 26 members representing 316,000.
MPs The Romford constituency is about 74,000
Havering has 54 councillors representing 4,600 people each

Andrew Rosindell’s represents 16 times more voters than the average Havering councillor. Do Havering councillors really have so much work that it justifies squadrons of them? What do they do that requires 54 councillors?

The reality is local government is gripped in the dead hand of history. It’s like it is because it has always been that way. And those councillors create administrative clutter. They’re not nimble and don’t represent the people. Havering’s council chamber has become the haunt of the elderly who linger in ‘safe’ seats reflecting a by-gone era. No wonder turn-out is so poor in local elections.

Havering’s local government needs to move out of the era of the horse and cart and slim down. One councillor per ward should be more than enough and then they could be paid a proper salary and held to robust account.

6 thoughts on “Does Havering have too many councillors?

  1. What utter rubbish i could do with six councillors in my ward with the level of casework I have to represent the residents in a less well off ward I have several referrals sometimes a day.
    Services are not as they should be austerity has seen to that ASB cuts to police and youth services, insufficient council housing poor condition of local roads and an underfunded education and Special Needs system all contribute to a large caseload that one cllr would never cope with in my area.

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    1. Thank you for your comment

      At about £200 a week each councillor should be ‘doing’ about one and half days a week Full Time. What of Emerson Park; the Upminster and Cranham wards? Are you really suggesting that they’re doing a weeks work Full Time between them? It’s an absurd suggestion that they need three councillors for each ward. It could well be rough justice if your workload increased but why should the borough pay a million pounds a year to councillors to basically do nothing.

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  2. When can I reduce my time to 1 and a half days a week just seen this as I have been attending the Queens theatre board meeting council appointment since then I have been on my laptop doing casework.
    You quote Emerson park Upminster and cranham and I am sure there are some Cllrs who work hard in those areas I think of Gillian Ford for one but 1 Cllr in Heaton and Gooshays just would not work if you want to provide any sort of service to the residents in the area. You are first and foremost elected as a Cllr in your ward to represent your residents how well you do this is down to you and your electorate in 4 years time.

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    1. Thank you for your comment

      Let’s assume a working day is seven hours. The amount of time I’m talking about is therefore ten and half hours weekly. A normal councillors commitment, in terms of committee meetings would be about 14 hours annually; for Council; committee meetings about the same (the last two lasted just over three hours for example) and ancillary meetings (non-party) about six. That is about 34 hours a year. A 46 week year at ten and half hours is 483 hours minus 34 = 449 hours available for casework. Obviously there isn’t an even flow of work through the year but taking the rough with the smooth that’s enough.

      I suggest you keep a diary of actual time spent as opposed to an impression where the busy periods will, inevitably, dominate your thinking.

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      1. I have to say your figures are way off firstly I’m on planning meet every three weeks the Health O & S then substitute for cabinet and other meetings attendance at three council appointed bodies throughout the year. Weekly surgeries when not covid. Then add in preparation for each meeting reading papers that takes at least as long as the meetings and lastly casework. This is a daily occurance for me with people phoning and emailing often as a response to my posts on Facebook local pages. I am too busy to start explaining the hourly breakdown but it is clear you have no understanding of what it is like to be a councillor in the current situation.

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      2. Thank you for your comment

        You are generalising from the particular to the general. The blog wasn’t about you. It was about councillors in general.

        I’ve looked at the last three planning committees and they took 3 hours 15 minutes in total.

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