Since the launch of Mobilitate's national poll on councillor performance last week, a few concerns have been raised about the criteria that was being used to measure the performance of councillors and that the results might be skewed because of this.
Mobilitate is happy to expand on the role of the ward councillor and how the rating you gave your councillor reflected whether the councillor was fulfilling this role or not. Below is a brief summary but feel free to read more about it HERE and HERE.
Let us start off by saying we know that it is not the responsibility of the ward councillor to resolve issues. We understand that the ward councillor is a representative of his ward in local government and works within the framework and infrastructure provided by the ruling party of the time (Joburg DA Cllr Darren Bergman in Look Local May 2011).
But, as the Association for Democratic Alliance Councillors (ADAC) puts it: Councillors are representatives of their constituents and their immediate needs.
Councillors are the elected representatives of the people and are mandated as elected representatives to make decisions on behalf of their constituencies.
And here, according to Mobilitate, is one of the key aspects of being a councillor: As elected representatives councillors need to carry out their duties in a transparent and accountable way.
This means that councillors do not act as individuals and do as they wish. Their actions must be visible to the public so that the public (or party to which the councillor belongs) is able to object when it they feel their interests are not being adequately represented.
Councillors also serve as facilitators of community/constituency input.
Councillors serve as a communication link between council and community.
Councillors help monitor the performance of the municipality and therefore act as a key feedback mechanism for monitoring:
- whether the municipality’s plans and programmes are achieving the intended effect
- whether services are being provided in a way that is efficient and fair
- whether capital projects, as committed to in the IDP, are actually taking place according to plan and within a reasonable timeframe.
So when you rate your councillor, how would all of this info come into play? This is how we see it.
Score 1: Bad
None of the above occurs or is done to your satisfaction.
Score 2: Engage & Understand
· Pro-actively reaches out to, connect with, engage and communicate with ward constituents.
· Via Mobilitate, Facebook, Twitter, Email, SMS, Town halls, ward meetings, ward committee members, pamphlets, brochures, door to door – whatever works best for that community
· If most ward constituents have never had regular communication from their Cllr then the Cllr has failed.
Score 2 if good.
Score 3: Inform
If "Engage and Understand" is not happening, then "Inform" cannot occur.
· Informs constituents of council matters effectively, efficiently and regularly – IDP, city operations etc.
· Council meeting agendas distributed, minutes and outcomes distributed
· Answers questions and explains council actions/procedures/impact when needed
· Provides own opinion on council and ward matters and fosters engagement and debate amongst constituents regarding council matters
Score 3 if good.
Score 4: Represent
If Inform is not happening, then Represent cannot occur.
· Demonstrably represents consensus ward position and needs at Council
· Do Cllr party views and needs concur with ward consensus view and needs? Does he/she Inform ward constituents if this is not so
· Feedback on Council response/actions/results
Score 4 if good.
Score 5: Foster ward and inter-ward understanding, social cohesion and co-operation
If "Represent" is not happening, then "Foster ward and inter-ward understanding and co-operation" cannot occur.
Our society has divisions that need healing. Is the Cllr playing their part in this?
· Fosters and promotes ward and community unity via community events, communication etc.
· Informs constituents of social challenges in other wards and how that impacts / interacts with ward constituent wants and needs
· Fosters and promotes inter-ward and societal unity via inter-ward events, communication etc.
Score 5 if good.
You can find your councillor HERE and then get rating. Remember by rating your councillor you automatically enter our draw for cash prizes that totals R5000. The winner will receive R3000, the runner-up will get R1500 and third prize is R500. The closing date is 31 August 2012.
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