Lambeth councillors missed meetings shock revealed
Fewer than a quarter of Lambeth’s councillors have attended all council meetings held since they were elected in 2010.
The figures, obtained via a Freedom of Information request by the Streatham Guardian, also revealed 27 out of the 62 councillors – who each have an annual allowance of up to £10,847 – have missed more than three full council meetings from May 2010 until August 2012.
Three councillors missed more than three of the 14 council meetings – Stephen Morgan (Prince’s ward) missed seven, Diana Braithwaite (Bishop’s) six and Marcia Cameron (Tulse Hill) five.
Fewer than a quarter of councillors, 13, have a 100 per cent attendance record for cabinet meetings.
And at least seven councillors failed to show at committee meetings, with no apologies for absence recorded.
Liberal Democrats Judith Best (Streatham Wells ward) and Steve Bradley (Vassall ward) each have two absences without apology to their names while Labour’s Donatus Anyanwu (Coldharbour), Lorna Campbell (Prince’s) and Jane Edbrooke (Oval) were all absent without apology at one committee meeting.
Coun Anyanwu also receives a special responsibility allowance (SRA) of £10,905 a year in addition to the annual basic allowance received by all councillors of £10,597, plus £250 for telephone calls a year.
Coun Campbell’s position as cabinet member for environment means she receives an SRA of £28,518 a year – despite the fact she has missed seven out of 24 cabinet meetings since being elected.
And the leader of Lambeth Council, Councillor Steve Reed (Brixton Hill), who gets an SRA of £40,617 in addition to his basic allowance, has missed four out of 24 cabinet meetings since being elected.
Coun Gavin Dodsworth (Bishop’s), who receives the basic allowance of almost £11,000, has only attended one out of six corporate committee meetings and three out of six finance scrutiny sub-committee meetings.
Liberal Democrat Jeremy Clyne (Streatham Hill) earned full marks on the register by attending all council meetings and all 22 meetings of the four committees he serves on.
Coun Clyne said: “I try to attend all the meetings I should do. It’s not only the meetings at the town hall, there are lots of other meetings to attend.”
He said sending apologies for non-attendance is not essential. He said: “It’s easy to forget that.”
Hot on Coun Clyne’s heels is Labour’s David Malley (Streatham South), who attended all council meetings and all 22 meetings of the two committees he serves on.
Liberal Democrat Kita Ogden (Streatham Hill) and Labour’s Jane Pickard (Knight’s Hill) also achieved a 100 per cent attendance record at council and committee meetings.
Jonathan Isaby, political director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Of course absences will occasionally be unavoidable, but serious questions certainly ought to be asked of those missing significant numbers of meetings and clearly voters can bear these figures in mind when deciding how to vote at the next election.
“However, voters would have far greater power to hold their councillors to account between elections if they had the right of recall. Such a system would hugely improve accountability.”