New figures have revealed that less than half of Wrexham councillors submitted their annual report for 2014.
An annual report can be filled in by councillors, detailing the events, meetings etc that they have attended / taken part in over the past 12 months.
In terms of Member Annual Reports there is a statutory requirement to offer all Members the opportunity to produce a report and the Council to publish it on its website.
In 2014, only 20 of Wrexham’s 52 councillors submitted their annual report; a full list of which can be found below:
Cllr Andrew Bailey, Cllr William Baldwin, Cllr David A Bithell, Cllr Paul Blackwell, Cllr Brian Cameron, Cllr Bob Dutton, Cllr David Griffiths, Cllr Bernie McCann, Cllr Arfon Jones, Cllr J A Kelly, Cllr Lloyd Kenyon, Cllr Joan Lowe, Cllr John Phillips, Cllr John Pritchard, Cllr Graham Rogers, Cllr Neil Rogers, Cllr Michael Williams, Cllr Steve Wilson, Cllr Phil Wynn and Cllr Anne Evans.
However in a report due to go before the Democratic Services Committee tomorrow (viewed full here) it states: “It is intended that, subject to approval by this committee, a template is circulated to all Members with a request that completed Annual Reports are returned to the Head of Democratic Services by the end of August, with the aim of getting them translated into Welsh and publishing them on the Council website by the end of September.”
Currently listed on the Wrexham Council website are the reports ‘by the Councillor below regarding their key activities over the year ending 31 May 2013. It is provided for the information of all constituents and for no other purpose’.
The annual report, which can be found on the ‘Who is my councillor’ page of the Council website, is broken down into five sections and details a councillor’s roles for the past 12 months. These sections are: Role & Responsibilities, Constituency Activity, Initiatives and Special Activities, Learning & Development and Other Activities and Issues.
For example, when you visit the list of councillors on the Council website and click on Cllr Andrew Bailey for example, the Members Annual Report can be found on the top right of the page (this is the same for each councillor who submitted their report)
Cllr Bailey’s report then goes onto detail what committee’s he sits on, both for WCBC and externally. As well as listing activities in the Gresford constituency and learning and development – which includes brushing up on ‘new media and report writing’.
Each Member’s Annual Report differs in length, with some councillors detailing at length some of their work through the year. However members are advised to write as much or as little as they wish in the reports.
The topic of annual reports and Councillor attendance records has been subject to an ongoing debate on our forums. Derek Jackson wrote on our forums: “This has been an option for a number of years but as far as I am away this has never been taken up. This should be a way for the electorate to find out what their own Councilor has been up to — this report along with the proposed TV coverage should prevent ANY Councilor from hiding from the electorate and bring forward a more transparent approach to the way our Council is governed.”
Replying on our forums, Cllr Wynn said: “As a member of the Democratic Services Committee I am in total agreement that the elected members Annual Statement is a good idea and a way for us to list what we do to justify our allowance. Unfortunately only 20 of the 52 members completed a statement, so still a long way to go before all of of us have been won over. That’s the challenge.”
The report is due to go before the Democratic Services Committee tomorrow at 2pm in the Guildhall.
Do you think Councillors should be encouraged to submit their annual reports? You can take part in the debate here or tweet @wrexham with your thoughts.