Ian McLennan’s view on being a successful Labour Wiltshire Councillor.
Community projects are, by definition, local. Nonetheless, for success, officer support is needed at Wiltshire Council. That does not require a visit to Trowbridge. Phone calls and emails, involving all that could influence the project are all that is needed. Sometimes, many times over! Patience is a virtue. Councils take time and can be frustrating, however, successful outcomes make those frustrations worthwhile.
There is much officer expertise available, except in Covid 19 times, when many council officers and managers have been redeployed to help deliver the many and various Government initiatives which have served to highlight that locally based, committed public servants can deliver where ‘friends of Government’ have blatantly failed
Wiltshire Council is a unitary authority and is responsible for such umbrella topics as Education, Social Care for all ages, Local Environment, Planning, Highways, Public Health,Elections, Leisure Facilities and Housing. A Cabinet is formed of the majority party. Opposition groups are allocated spaces on scrutiny committees, pro rata. Wiltshire Labour, helped drive through the motion for Wiltshire Council to be carbon neutral by 2030.
As a member of the Environment Select Committee, we work on producing ideas and challenging decisions, where we think there are better outcomes to be had. Wiltshire Council will have reduced its carbon by 68% in the last three years. A fair start.
Full Council, scrutiny committee meetings and scrutiny projects, which we volunteer to join, are relatively few and spread across the year. No need to visit County Hall, otherwise. This enables greater concentration on those issues closer to home.
Owing to its size, the county is divided into Area Boards. These cover a geography where a wider community, with shared outlook and needs, can encourage greater involvement, of the general public, parish councils and other public services. Here, working relationships and collaboration comes to the fore, delivering services and projects which local people actually can directly influence.
Grants for local projects are also allocated by the Wiltshire Councillors, within each Area Board.
In conclusion, being a Wiltshire Councillor is both rewarding and frustrating. A place where you can make a difference and help serve your own community and those individuals falling foul of the system, by making sure its and their voice is heard throughout Wiltshire. Justice, fair play and improvements to our daily lives, being the goal.’
Councillor Ian McLennan
26 years continuous service, as Labour Councillor, for my local community