Saturday, August 12, 2006

Work/Life balance for Councillors

I have just been reading Councillor Karen Hamilton's blog and in her latest post she discusses the Work/Life balance for Councillors. Councillor Karen Hamilton is one of nineteen councillors from the hundred and twenty in Birmingham who is a councillor that manages to hold down a full time job as well.

While Councillors serving on Birmingham city Council are amongst the best paid/reimbursed in the country it is very unfortunate that some of the best cant do more for the council because the pay they receive as councillor is not enough. Just looking at the list of Liberal Democrat Councillors in Birmingham I can think of at least five councillors who unfortunately due to their full-time work cant do more to serve the council or the people of Birmingham.

In her post Councillor Hamilton says "There is so much I want to do and I often have to miss meetings as they are during the daytime. Then there is the mountain of paperwork. You have to really enjoy the work and be committed to public service in order to be a successful councillor" I think we have to seriously consider how we can reduce the amount of bureaucracy anyone dealing with any public body in UK has to put up we also have to consider ways in which we can help people who are elected to public bodies financially so that it is easier for them to give up their fulltime jobs in order to carry out public service.

A lot of people who could be great councillors or cabinet members in the UK are not doing this because the money on offer is just not good enough and I hear a lot people complain about how so many councillors are retired people well given the amount of time that is taken up with attending council meetings, doing casework and campaigning its no surprise that most councillors are people who have retired. Most young people who are still trying to trying to get their careers off the mark and settling down or have a young family will just find it too difficult to do some of what is required of councillors. In UK if we want the best of what society has to offer to be our elected representatives then we must also look at giving our elected representatives something similar to what the best of industry has to offer.


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