Is your councillor up to scratch?

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Council announces plans to make it easier to sack your councillor

Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Authorby Rachael Burford,

The proposals are part of a wider programme of council reforms called ‘Renewing Kingston’s Democracy’

The proposals are part of a wider programme of council reforms called ‘Renewing Kingston’s Democracy’

Previously, the only way you could get try and get rid of a local representative was to not vote for them every four years.

But new proposals by Kingston Council could make it a lot easier for residents to hold their councillors to account.

The plans will give people the opportunity to set up a petition to remove their councillor if they are not meeting the standards expected of them.

If more than 33 per cent of the electorate in the ward signed the petition, then the councillor would be expected to resign and a byelection called.

Potential scenarios where a councillor could be recalled would include:

• If a councillor’s attendance at meetings falls below 20 per cent

• If a councillor attends fewer than two full Council or neighbourhood committee meetings within a year

• If a councillor is convicted of a crime for which a prison sentence has been imposed and the appeal period has expired without the sentence having been overturned

• If a councillor moves their main residence outside of the borough

The proposals are part of a wider programme of council reforms called ‘Renewing Kingston’s Democracy’ which council leader Kevin Davis will be outlining in his blog ‘Putting People in Power’ in the coming months.

The constitutional changes will be voted on during full council in July.

Coun Davis: “At a time of massive challenges for local government we need to connect better than ever before with local people.

“In order to do that we must win greater trust and that is exactly what these measures are designed to help us do.

“Most local councillors work incredibly hard on behalf of their constituents. But occasionally the behaviour of local councillors falls below a standard that voters have a right to expect.

“Under these new recall proposals, voters in Kingston would be able to do something about it; to kick them out of office and have a fresh election.”