Councillors fail to hold promised number of public meetings in 2012 (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Councillors in Waltham Forest fail to hold promised number of public meetings in 2012
MANY councillors in Waltham Forest again failed to hold the promised minimum number of public meetings with their constituents in 2012, according to council data.
There are supposed to be three 'Ward Forum' meetings every year in each of the borough's areas so that politicians can engage with residents and allocate grants of £10,000.
The forum system was introduced at the start of 2011 after the council controversially axed its larger Community Council meetings, which had been held four times a year.
Read the council's response to this report here:
The cabinet member responsible at the time, Cllr Marie Pye, said the changes would improve local democracy and make councillors more accountable.
She told that Guardian of her hopes that most councillors would hold more than three meetings per year.
But throughout 2011 councillors in only 11 wards out of 20 bothered to hold the minimum required.
And now a new analysis by the Waltham Forest Guardian suggests that in 2012 there was a slight improvement, with 13 out of 20 wards holding the meetings.
However it appears that since the introduction of the forum system no councillors have arranged more than three meetings per year.
The latest information was gathered by combining data on the council's website and the listings pages of every edition of its freesheet 'Waltham Forest News' this year.
Wards which failed to hold three meetings this year include Forest, Higham Hill, Grove Green, Lea Bridge and William Morris.
In Cathall and Cann Hall wards there were two meetings but ward councillors said they were available for discussion with residents "informally" three times during the Friends of Langthorne Park Roller Skating Weekend.
Last year the council defended the changes and said attendance at forum meetings was higher than Community Council meetings.
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