This is a long read but I hope that it will prompt a healthy discussion.

I think that we are badly served by the East Riding of Yorkshire council for a number of reasons, but my top issue is the fact that we seem to have a lot of councillors who haven’t a clue about being a councillor. They start with good intentions but soon realise they lack the experience and knowledge to affect the way the council operates. They are incapable of thinking strategically.

Individual councillors are put into important positions and in theory oversee departments which are spending millions of pounds of our money. They are put into those positions not because they have any business or financial experience but because they supported a party policy or fellow councillor for high office. Their reward is a committee chairmanship and the additional allowances which come with it.

Faced with councillors who have little or no experience of running a £48m organisation with over 10,000 staff, council officers make decisions about strategic priorities and present them to the committees for rubber stamping. They have done this for so long officers do whatever they want. If they didn’t things would grind to a complete halt. Lacking specialist experience the councillors are not able to challenge or present feasible alternatives or in some cases lack the ability and confidence to ask any questions at all.

This means that when trees die because of lack of water, when footpaths are not built as agreed, when roads are not repaired, when officers decide to sell Burnby Hall, when houses are built without any thought about infrastructure, when e mails go unanswered, when 380 new Pocklington homes get the go ahead because someone cocked up the data our councillors lack the confidence, ability, or assertiveness to challenge decisions and poor performance.
A few councillors are more capable than others and try to do a good job. We have one in our area, Leo Hammond, who is in effect a full-time councillor. One of his social media profiles says he works at ERYC. He does not. But you’d be forgiven for thinking he does.

As a councillor he does a much better job of representing his ward than any other councillor this side of Beverley. His heart seems to be in the right place and he tries to connect with his residents. He in effect runs the council helpline for Wolds Weighton. Something the people in the Pocklington Provincial ward can only dream of. But is his time well spent running the local helpline or should he be working strategically to make sure that ERYC paid staff do their job effectively? He says we need a devolotion deal but what is he doing to make sure we get one?

Moving onto to communication. Our current Pocklington Provincial Ward councillors seem to wear their inability and unwillingness to communicate as a badge of honour. Send any of them an e mail and you have a 25% chance of getting a response. I wrote a week ago to Cllr Kay West to ask her to provide information about the local volunteer and community groups she claimed she was working with in the latest Conservative election leaflet. I have not received any response.
Recently when I have written to our three local councillors I get a response instead from Leo Hammond. I have formed the conclusion that if you do vote for a Conservative candidate, you will actually be voting for Leo Hammond because he is the only one who seems to do anything.

You should also note that all the conservative election material coming through your door is the work of Leo Hammond. Conservative Councillors in Wolds Weighton and Pocklington Provincial view communication as a ‘black art’.

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