Call for Rotherham Council attendances to reflect committee seat take-up

Rotherham Town HallRotherham Town Hall
Rotherham Town Hall
COUNCIL attendance figures cannot be adjusted to highlight where groups have not taken up all available seats on committees, RMBC says.

Places on boards like planning, scrutiny and licensing are awarded based on the number of elected members each party has on Rotherham Council.

Some are not taken up – but the absence does not count against the party in terms of overall attendance.

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Independent Cllr Michael Bennett-Sylvester asked if this could be altered to show which groups were not taking up their allocation of seats on committees.

Deputy leader Cllr Sarah Allen said: “Unfortunately, the answer is no. Attendance is recorded against individual members and not political groups.

“If a political group does not want to take a seat on a committee, board or panel and wish to keep it vacant, that is a matter for them to decide.”

At the end of 2023 there were eight Conservative vacancies, two Liberal Democrat, one Labour and one independent.

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Cllr Bennett-Sylvester said: “It is disappointing that we can’t have an easy-to-view system for councillor attendance that considers where political groups just don’t take their seats.

“The effect is that collectively we get a higher attendance figure for councillors as a whole and for political groups who don’t take the seats that they are at the end of the day are taking allowance money for.

“I’m very proud of the way we true independents handled our committee allocations having grown up discussions about our relative strengths and while we disagree on many issues because we are there to each represent a community not a party make sure we take every opportunity we can to do so.”

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