*Cllr Gerry Flynn. Photograph: John Mangan
Systems to keep Clare councillors updated on the progress of their representations has been described by elected members of the local authority as “really important”.
Not for the first time and unlikely to be the last occasion, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) issued an appeal for Clare County Council to implement a mechanism “related to performance indicators” to allow councillors monitor the progress of their representations.
He stated, “Several motions in regards to this issue have been submitted and supported by the elected representatives over the years but unfortunately no substantial progress has occurred from The Executive. Councillors carry out a very important role on behalf of their communities and require a timely response to their representations”.
Formal representations are lodged on the Municipal District customer request management (CRM) system, senior executive officer of corporate services, Ann Reynolds highlighted. She advised that an ongoing review of the integration of CRM in the Council continues. “The management structure of the MDs was enhanced in 2019, by the appointment of a Senior Executive Officer to each MD, who is a point of contact for Councillors. The SEOs are available to provide updates on projects and works as required,” she added.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the County Council, Cllr Flynn said the proposal was “an old chestnut, it goes back a number of years”. The Shannon representative quipped, “it is not rocket science for an elected representative at Municipal District level to get an update on what they are asking for”.
Support was voiced by Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) who stressed, “we are elected to make representations on behalf of our constituents” and he believed a system should exist to allow them update constituents on their work. Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) outlined, “It is really important from a local Government perspective to watch what happens in the process from the constituent coming to us and it getting brought before us”.
“It is something that councillors need to be informed of,” Cllr Ann Norton (IND) maintained with further support voiced by Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) and Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) who labelled the app for councillors as “transformational”.
Citing COVID-19, annual leave, summer holidays and remote working, Cllr Pat Burke (FG) detailed that it was “extremely difficult at times to get in contact with staff”. He expressed his disappointment at not receiving a reply from Council staff to issues raised, “it doesn’t take too long to acknowledge an email”.
Chief Executive of the Council, Pat Dowling supported the elected representatives in their request, “It is very important that you can track, document all representations you make so that you can produce a report at the end of the month”.