HRA is an umbrella organization, which maintains the legacy identities of Residents’ Associations (RA). The hard political miles over next four years will be very demanding for this arrangement. Having to make policies for the whole borough and balancing spending priorities is challenging.
The political labels that Havering’s Democracy Department uses for councillors illustrates the problem.1 HRA has six councillors not 20.2 Neither the Leader, or his deputy, are identified as HRA councillors. Ray Morgon belongs to the Residents’ Group; Gillian Ford to the Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Group.
This isn’t nit-picking.3 Amateurism is lovable, until it lurches into a destructive shambles when people discover that not every decision is applauded.
HRA’s 20 councillors includes five women. Conservatives have nine out of 23, Labour five out of nine and East Havering Residents’ Group none. HRA and Labour have female deputy leaders so women’s issues should, hopefully, get a voice. Gillian Ford has an especial role in this matter. HRA’s female councillors are middle-aged and their life experiences should have sensitised them to sexist injustices.
HRA’s male councillors are mostly old.( see Addendum)4 It should be remembered that Havering is an ‘old’ borough, so this isn’t a complete anomaly.
Ray Morgon has begun consensual politics with his nominees for LGA positions.5 This policy has to be applauded if it’s a sign of things to come.
Addendum: Ray Morgon’s Cabinet
Ray Morgon (60) Leader and professional politician
Gillian Ford (60) Deputy leader involved mentoring councillors (not LBH)
Chris Wilkins (67) Retired Senior local authority officer in housing
Graham Wilkinson (65) Retired logistic manager
Oscar Ford (?) Retired Senior local authority officer in strategy, performance and resources
Barry Mugglestone (?) Retired Ford Motors supervisor
Keith Darvill (74) Solicitor
Paul McGeary (65) NHS estates manager
Paul Middleton (?) Unemployed
Source Romford Recorder 12th August 2022
1 Your Councillors | The London Borough Of Havering This list is used for this blog. It’s published by the Democracy department of Havering Council and is based on the information given to the Council by councillors. As of 8th June 2022 HRA, as an umbrella organisation, is recognised on the Democracy site.
2 There are two HRA councillors for Emerson Park and Hylands and Harrow Lodge wards. There’s one each for St Andrew’s and Elm Park.
3 Oscar Ford describes his party as the Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association. The other two councillors in that ward describe themselves as the Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Group. This is bizarre. The three councillors can’t even agree what party they’re in.
4 Councillors ages aren’t revealed by the Democracy Department but photographs offer clues. The Conservatives have the ‘youngest’ group of councillors including Damian White their Leader.
5 Local Government Association. The national organisation for councillors.