What does an average councillor do for £11,000 a year?

Denied a frank and honest answer by Mike Fisher, the leader of Croydon Council, in respect of the hours that he puts in for his £50,000-plus in allowances each year, we thought we would try another measure of what work our local councillors do on our behalf.

Councillor Clare Hilley (right), ready for Christmas

Councillor Clare Hilley (right): not lightweight or vacuous at all

Maybe, we thought, a monitor of some of their output on Twitter, as they detail their daily activities on behalf of the residents they are supposed to represent might offer some insight into how our busy elected representatives spend their time.

Possibly entirely at random, from the 70 councillors at Croydon Town Hall – cost £6.6million every four years – we thought we’d take a look at that “rising star of local Conservative politics”, Clare Hilley, of Waddon ward.

Silley, of course, is very busy most days because she has a full-time job as a lobbyist for the building industry, while also maintaining a key role in something called Conservative Future. And recently, she and her husband left their home in Addiscombe to spend some time on a trip to west Africa. It’s a wonder that she has any time at all for Waddon.

As a back bencher at the Town Hall who since being elected in 2009 has not been promoted to a more senior position in Fisher’s top team, in common with other back bench councillors in the Conservative group that controls our council, Silley receives nearly £1,000 per month in allowances for her work as a local councillor, which as Fisher is keen to impress upon us, is not a proper, full-time job.

The dreams of some are the nightmare of a nation

The dreams of some are the nightmare of a nation

So what has Silley, Croydon’s youngest councillor, been noting about her activities on behalf of the people of Waddon in the past month? Let’s take a look at her Twitter feed (Inside Croydon accepts no responsibility for material previously put into the public domain which some readers may feel is offensive, crude, lightweight, vacuous or conflicted. Or all of the above).

Dec 12:
Excellent news that employment has hit a record high at 29.601 million, 500,000 than last year [sic]. Well done @Conservatives @David_Cameron

See what we mean?

See what we mean?

Note: This sort of overlooks that with the country having a historically high population, it is inevitable that more people will be working. Or does she think David Cameron is responsible for the record high population? And if so, shouldn’t someone tell Samantha?

12/12/12 is the last repetitive date we will ever see in our lifetime. Hope you all celebrate at midday today.

Note: Yes. The people of Waddon were out on the streets celebrating.

Dec 11

@isaby Glad you had a good time & sorry we couldn’t join you.

Another evening, another party for the busy Waddon councillor and her husband

Another evening, another party for the busy Waddon councillor and her husband

Note: This is in response to a Tweet by Jonathan Isaby, the political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who had celebrated his birthday the evening before and declared that “the party season is officially in full swing!” Parties and drinking are a recurring theme in the Tweets of Silley and her husband, though apparently not very often in Waddon.

Dec 9

Relaxing after a great night out at #Savoy after seeing #Mousetrap – brilliant evening!

Note: The butler did it. But not in Waddon.

Dec 7

@Aline_M_Nassif I know- it’s so sad

Note: This is in response to a Tweet which repeats the news of the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse at the hospital treating Kate Middleton, following the prank call from an Australian radio station. Aline Nassif is a former journalist at the Croydon Sadvertiser who now works as a parliamentary assistant to the Croydon South MP, Lord Bletchingley. Not much direct Waddon relevance.

@Donal_Blaney @YBFOnline Me & @StevenGeorgia would love to have joined you this weekend at #ybf9 but tied up with family commitments

Note: @StevenGeorgia is Mr Silley. YBF is the Young Britons’ Foundation, a right-wing group which its chief exec, Donal Blaney, has described as “a Conservative madrasa”. Its meeting was not in Waddon.

Dec 6

Excellent performance from #Osborne yesterday – http://thehilleyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/osborne-made-me-proud.html … @hmtreasury @Conservatives

Note: “Osborne” is a reference to Gideon Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had delivered his Autumn Statement the previous day. The architect of what was widely termed an Omnishambles of a Budget earlier in the year and what is now a triple-dip recession, apparently his relief was palpable when news of Silley’s approval reached him at No11 Downing Street (which is not in Waddon).

Dec 5

@GavinBarwellMP Thanks for the support & I urge everyone to donate food & support @yourcroydon campaign for #Croydon Food Network

Note: This may have some relevance to Waddon. Though little real impact.

Pleased @SouthernRailUK trains were on time this morning in snowy #Croydon – make sure you keep it up so that I can get home this evening!

Note: May be of relevance to some Waddon residents. Or it might just be self-interest.

Dec 4

@Robert_J_M_T @PippaVaux @StevenGeorgia @patjsullivan Planning to come after the Bonhams party. Are you going?!

Note: This is in reference to what one of Silley’s chums referred to as a “Conservative ladies shin-dig thingy”. Double-booked, Silley was first attending a party organised for “fast tracked” Tory party members at auction house Bonhams, the auction house. Which is not in Waddon.

Dec 3

@StevenGeorgia @PippaVaux @patjsullivan @Robert_J_M_T Have fun guys and wish I could join you all but am at a full council meeting

Note: It appears that attending a council meeting for the people of Waddon is interfering with Silley’s social life.

Dec 2

@castle12200 @MatthewsYard @TeamVCroydon @AndrewJPelling @JimmyCroydon If free then would but am seeing family today. Please keep me updated

Note: Advised of a homelessness event at Matthews Yard organised by “local hero” Michael Castle, it appears that Silley has a more important prior engagement, which may not be in Waddon.

Brilliant night at @ConsFuture #xmas2012 party. Massive well done to @sarahjanesewell for organising & hosting!!

Note: Another party! Wowsers! What a mad social whirl our busy councillor has. It is understood that this party was not held in Waddon.

Dec 1

Busy morning at #Waddon #Croydon councillor surgery this morning. Looking forward to the next one!

Note: There. Told you that the Waddon councillor was busy. Well worth £11,000 a year of everyone else’s money…

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to What does an average councillor do for £11,000 a year?

  1. mraemiller says:

    Dec 9 Factually incorrect. It was the policeman not the butler.

    Wondered who had happened to Mr Castle

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