I am pleased to say that in most of West Kent this isn't an issue. And the reason it isn't an issue is the Associations make it absolutely clear what is expected of councillors when they first become candidates. I am aware of one Association whose Officers and activists are highly critical about the lack of input and campaign support from councillors, but at each election they automatically re-select the poor performers without any discussion or sanction regarding their lack of support for the Association's wider political goals. I am afraid to say that they only have themselves to blame!
The original three West Kent Associations follow the CCHQ Mandatory Selection Procedures to the dot, including re-interviewing incumbents and assessing their performance against pre-defined KPIs. The tools for achieving this are all in the Mandatory Selection Rules; don't blame the councillors (or the Party) if your Association chooses not to use them!
For example, on the "Agreement to Stand" (an integral part of the CCHQ Application Form which all candidates must sign) includes the following two clear objectives.
"Councillors must play a full, active and constructive part in their local Association during the whole of their period of office, including campaigning, membership development, fundraising and political activities”.It should really come as no surprise therefore when, as part of the re-approval process each applicants campaign and mutual aid record is taken into consideration. In fact, in addition to the standard CCHQ re-application form, Tonbridge & Malling are also asking candidates to complete the following form, reviewing how they responded to various (not unreasonable) mutual aid requests over their four year term.
“They must cooperate fully with the campaign strategy for elections including giving mutual aid to other Conservative candidates when asked and, when themselves a candidate, complying with the requirements of the duly appointed Election Agent."
Tonbridge & Malling are commencing their selection procedure for the all-out elections in 2015.
The draft timetable as follows:
30 May - 13 June: Incumbent councillors to re-apply
Late June / July: Interviews / re-approval of incumbent councillors
July: Interviews of new applicants (of which we have 15 on the books)
September / October: Open selections for all wards
Late October: completion of selection
With many more applicants than vacancies, it will be an interesting process.