Over the rest of the summer we will be running a short series of posts from councillors around the country about different aspects of the role. Some will be talking about the daily details of what being an elected member entails for them; others have written about a specific cause or issue that being on the council has allowed them to champion. All the contributions add up to a snapshot of the busy and varied job of councillor. A big thank you to all those who have taken time to contribute. If you are a councillor and would like to write a short post for this series then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We kick off the series with Councillor Dave Waters, Leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council, who gives us taste of what a typical week might bring.
Tuesday was a catch up with the Chief Executive. It’s an opportunity for me to keep up to speed with things that are going on within the council and issues that may impact us. It’s also a chance for me to question and challenge in an informal and private setting. In the evening of this Tuesday, (25th July), I attended a service in Gloucester Cathedral to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the 2007 floods that severely impacted Gloucestershire. In my own Ward six of the eight parishes border the River Severn, so the service was very moving. Co-incidentally during the service there was a thunder storm which caused some flash flooding affecting some roads in Gloucester, a poignant reminder of those difficult days and that the risk of flooding remains a real concern.
Wednesday I took part in the Joint Management Liaison Group for One Legal. One Legal is a shared service between Cheltenham Borough, Gloucester City and Tewkesbury Borough Councils. The Group oversees the performance and development of the service. This time it was the turn of Gloucester City Council to host the meeting. It was then back to Tewkesbury to Chair the Conservative Group meeting prior to the Council meeting. Then it was in to the Council meeting proper. Fortunately, on this occasion a light agenda but with discussions on the Community Infrastructure Levy and Boundary reviews. The Mayor kindly invites Members back to the Parlour after the meeting for some light refreshment. This is a great opportunity for us to get together put the political discussions behind us and generally catch up with each other in a social setting.
It was back to Gloucester again on Thursday but this time to Shire Hall to attend a meeting of Leadership Gloucestershire. This is attended by the Leaders and Chief Executives of the County Council, the six District Councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership in Gloucestershire along with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Deputy Chief Constable and a representative of the Clinical Commissioning Group. It’s a wide-ranging agenda covering strategic planning co-ordination to the long-term vision for the County. In the evening, I attended a Parish Council meeting and as usual took away a few actions to sort back at the offices.
Friday, it was a pleasant bus tour around the Borough, unfortunately not one for relaxing but the regular site inspection visits ahead of the Planning Committee next week. I’m a relatively new member of the Planning Committee so it’s interesting and very useful to visit sites to see the issues and potential impacts.
I try to use the weekend as a break but I always spend some time catching up with e-mails, updating my diary. This weekend I started to arrange one to one meetings with members of my Group.
As Leader, I’m trying hard not to make my Council work a full-time job, so I try to keep one weekday free, normally a Monday, although this can be taken up with unavoidable meetings and casework. I try to swim twice a week but my great escape is walking my two dogs twice a day. It gets me out in the fresh air whatever the weather. Overall, it’s a demanding role but it’s a job I really enjoy.