Obviously I am not going to be specific or write anything which might identify individuals, but several of our incumbent councillors have been invited back to meet the Local Government Committee to discuss various aspects of their performance or issues which have arisen during the re-approval process.
What is important to remember is being invited to meet the committee means just that! Nothing more or less. It means quite simply that that majority of the committee wished to see the applicant to clarify or discuss a concern. It certainly does not mean they are being removed from the 'Approved List'. In effect it's just the same as my appraisal with my line manager - although for councillors it happens just once every four years whereas mine is annual!
The reaction, however, has been quite remarkable - outrage, indignation and in one case a threat to "stand for another party". This last threat is, IMHO, reason enough to deselect them. I, however, don't have a vote!
So why have they been called-in to meet the committee? As I said above, I would never identify any individual, but here is a summary of just some of the concerns.Some of the following relate to one or two individuals, most apply to a larger group.
Five of the group have failed to attend a single Association-designated "campaign day" in the three years since the last election (sadly, delivering or canvassing in your own ward does not count as "campaign support").
Four have allowed their party membership to lapse for a whole year during their term as a councillor. Three have allowed it to lapse for two years. Not only is this against the Party and Group Rules it also costs the Association a lot of money sending reminders.
Unsurprisingly, three of the same five people have also failed to pay the CCA subs for one or two years. Again, against the rules and causing unnecessary cost in chasing payments.
Three of the five have not attended a single branch meeting since their election and also failed to attend any of their branch's campaign days or social events. Do they not think that the volunteers who you will be asking to deliver your leaflets and campaign on your behalf deserve a bit of support in return?
One didn't attend an event with a visiting Government Minister, held to relaunch his local branch, as he didn't particularly like the Minister concerned. Another told a lady who had just moved into the village and had offered to help, "please don't try to form a branch as it will be just another committee meeting which I will be expected to attend."
What we must bear in mind is that the overwhelming majority of councillors manage to pay their party dues when asked, and find the time to support the Association's campaigning objectives. I appreciate that people are "very busy" but if Nicolas Heslop (who works full time in London, has four young children and is also leader of the council) can find time to meet his campaign responsibilities each and every time he is asked, I don't accept that others cannot do so.
Personally, if I were them I would be grateful for the opportunity to explain my actions, not complaining loudly that they have been asked to do so!
But, as I said above, I don't have a vote.