It’s been nearly two years since I first started my Councillor’s surgeries, so I’ve taken some time over recess to think about times and venues.
If you’ve never been to a surgery, it’s all pretty simple*. I book a room in a hall, a school or library at a set time every month, and you can come and see me to talk about your problems or ideas for the local area. I’ve stuck some photos up from a couple of the venues – there’s always a chair and a listening ear waiting for you!
A lot people tend to get in touch with me directly, by phone or email, and I pick up a lot of cases while I’m out and about. I still think surgeries are important to do though – unlike MPs and MSPs, Councillors expenses don’t run to providing a local office, so surgeries are the best alternative to ensuring the public can find us when they need us. If no-one arrives, I get some quiet time to work on committee papers or chat to the janitor or staff (great sources of news!).
Some locations are better attended than others, yet there’s no rhyme or reason to when they’re busy. People have come to see me in the pouring rain, and stayed away on sunny evenings. Some I’ve promoted quite a lot, but still seem quite quiet. I think I’ve managed to achieve a good geographical spread within the constituency, in walking distance for most people.
I do eight surgeries a month, which is more than the average. Details of all the surgeries held by Councillors in
The main reason for reviewing surgery times and places has been my Calton surgery, which was previously held in St James’ Primary, which Labour voted to close. There are no other public buildings in the Calton – which was of course part of the problem with this particular closure. I have arranged to use a room in St Luke’s and St Andrew’s church on Bain Street, which I hope will be convenient for most people in the area.
I’m also moving three of my morning surgeries at Reidvale, Dalmarnock and Helenslea to Thursday rather than Tuesday. Bridgeton Library will continue to be on a Tuesday, as the Library opens later on a Thursday. Some of my colleagues have surgeries on Mondays and Fridays, but I was concerned that these are often subject to cancellation due to the closure of buildings on bank holidays.
The full list has been updated on the side bar and the Council
website. I’m always up for trying out new venues or ideas to communicate with my constituents – if you have suggestions please let me know!
* These kind of surgeries don’t involve any medical procedures – a friend of mine was quite concerned when I said I was going out for my surgery!