Tag Archives: councillors

View from the Boundary

10 Oct

The current structure of Newham council – a directly elected mayor and 60 councillors representing 20 wards – has been in place since 2002.

The mayoral system was put in place after a referendum 17 years ago and its future will be decided in another vote, probably 18 months from now. In the meantime, the Local Government Boundary Commission for England is taking a look at the rest of the council. How many councillors do we need and how should the wards they represent by drawn up?

The last review, which produced the 20 wards we have today, was in the late 1990s and a lot has changed since then! The population has grown substantially and that has resulted in considerable ‘electoral inequality’ between wards. Stratford and New Town has more than 18,000 electors, while Royal Docks has just 8,600. Yet both elect the same number of councillors.

Newham has argued – apparently successfully – that the total number of councillors should increase from 60 to 66, to take account of the growth in population and the large amount of casework (especially around housing issues) that has resulted. It has also put forward its own proposal on how the borough should be divided up into wards.

The council claims its proposal reflects existing local communities and the few ‘natural’ boundaries in the borough – the A13, the District line and the Docks. 

The new map, if agreed, would result in 23 wards, 20 of which would elect 3 councillors and three that would elect only two. The council rejected the option of creating single-member micro-wards. 

Of the 23 wards, nine are completely new, three have significant changes and 11 are either unchanged or have minor adjustments. All of the wards are within 10% (plus or minus) of ‘electoral equality’.

The biggest changes are in Stratford & New Town, where the existing mega-ward is split into two new – East Village and Olympic Park – and Royal Docks, which is also split in two, with each of them represented by two councillors. Canning Town South disappears; its western half becomes a more ‘electorally equal’ Canning Town ward while the eastern parts go into the new Plaistow West and a substantially redrawn Custom House.

Keen observers of local Labour politics will want to get the popcorn in for the reselection meeting in Manor Park, which will go from three councillors to two.

The full list is:

Ward name Forecast voters (2025) Councillors Electoral Equality
Beckton 12729 3 9
Boleyn 11067 3 -6
Burges* 11481 3 -2
Canning Town 11363 3 -3
Canning Town North 12425 3 6
Custom House 12594 3 7
East Ham South 11791 3 1
East Ham 11771 3 0
Forest Gate North 11329 3
Forest Gate South 11477 -2
Green St East 10692 3 -9
Green St West 10607 3 -10
Little Ilford 12185 3 4
Plaistow North 11321 3 -3
Plaistow South 11297 3 -4
Plaistow West 11673 3 0
Plashet** 12157 3 4
Stratford East Village 11522 3 -2
Stratford Olympic Park 12620 3 8
West Ham 10825 3 -8
Manor Park 8334 2 7
Albert Dock 8266 2 5
Victoria Dock 8530 2 9
Totals: 258056 66  
  • Burges is the current Wall End (with some small additions).

** Plashet is the current East Ham North ward (again, with small additions) renamed.

In the next post I’ll look at the make up of each of the 23 new wards.

A job description for councillors

28 Jan

While browsing around the web for information on councillor allowances I found the most recent report of the independent remuneration panel of London Councils, The Remuneration of Councillors in London 2014.

At the back there’s an appendix with a model job profile for councillors. It makes for interesting reading:

On behalf of the community – a job profile for councillors


  1. To participate constructively in the good governance of the area.
  2. To contribute actively to the formation and scrutiny of the authority’s policies, budget, strategies and service delivery.
  3. To represent effectively the interests of the ward for which the councillor was elected, and deal with constituents’ enquiries and representations.
  4. To champion the causes which best relate to the interests and sustainability of the community and campaign for the improvement of the quality of life of the community in terms of equity, economy and environment.
  5. To represent the council on an outside body, such as a charitable trust or neighbourhood association.

Key Tasks:

  1. To fulfil the statutory and locally determined requirements of an elected member of a local authority and the authority itself, including compliance with all relevant codes of conduct, and participation in those decisions and activities reserved to the full council (for example, setting budgets, overall priorities, strategy).
  2. To participate effectively as a member of any committee or panel to which the councillor is appointed, including related responsibilities for the services falling within the committee’s (or panel’s) terms of reference, human resource issues, staff appointments, fees and charges, and liaison with other public bodies to promote better understanding and partnership working.
  3. To participate in the activities of an outside body to which the councillor is appointed, providing two-way communication between the organisations. Also, for the same purpose, to develop and maintain a working knowledge of the authority’s policies and practices in relation to that body and of the community’s needs and aspirations in respect of that body’s role and functions.
  4. To participate in the scrutiny or performance review of the services of the authority, including where the authority so decides, the scrutiny of policies and budget, and their effectiveness in achieving the strategic objectives of the authority.
  5. To participate, as appointed, in the area and in service-based consultative processes with the community and with other organisations.
  6. To represent the authority to the community, and the community to the authority, through the various forums available.
  7. To develop and maintain a working knowledge of the authority’s services, management arrangements, powers/duties, and constraints, and to develop good working relationships with relevant officers of the authority.
  8. To develop and maintain a working knowledge of the organisations, services, activities and other factors which impact upon the community’s well-being and identity.
  9. To contribute constructively to open government and democratic renewal through active encouragement of the community to participate generally in the government of the area.
  10. To participate in the activities of any political group of which the councillor is a member.
  11. To undertake necessary training and development programmes as agreed by the authority.
  12. To be accountable for his/her actions and to report regularly on them in accessible and transparent ways.

How many of Newham’s 60 councillors could read that and – hand on heart – say they were doing the job the community expects of them? 

Money (that’s what I want)

13 Jun


The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds and bees

Details of the allowances paid to the mayor and councillors in the last financial year (2013/14) have been published in the ‘Summer Edition’ of the Newham Mag.

The Mag’s version of the table lists councillors in alphabetic order (except the mayor, obviously, who is always on top) and doesn’t include any totals. So it’s hard to see exactly how much is being paid and to whom.

I’ve taken the data, added up totals for each councillor and sorted them into rank order:

Name Basic* SRA Total
RA WALES 0 81,029 81,029
AR BAIKIE 10,734 31,042 41,776
IK CORBETT 10,734 31,042 41,776
RJ CRAWFORD 10,734 31,042 41,776
U DESAI 10,734 31,042 41,776
CW FURNESS 10,734 31,042 41,776
LT HUDSON 10,734 31,042 41,776
C MCAULEY 10,734 31,042 41,776
A KELLAWAY 10,734 26,901 37,635
EH SPARROWHAWK 10,734 22,765 33,499
E ROBINSON 10,734 22,720 33,454
Q PEPPIATT 10,734 18,624 29,358
F HUSSAIN 10,734 18,039 28,773
RA MIRZA 10,734 17,877 28,611
RN MANLEY 10,734 14,488 25,222
AB MCALMONT 10,734 14,488 25,222
T PAUL 10,734 14,488 25,222
WT VAUGHAN 10,734 14,488 25,222
NJ WILSON 10,734 14,488 25,222
A SINGH 10,734 10,347 21,081
K SCORESBY 10,734 9,362 20,096
J ALEXANDER 10,734 5,176 15,910
F BOURNE 10,734 5,176 15,910
S BRAYSHAW 10,734 5,176 15,910
A CHOWDHURY 10,734 5,176 15,910
D CHRISTIE 10,734 5,176 15,910
R RAHMAN 10,734 5,176 15,910
L SHAH 10,734 5,176 15,910
J GRAY 10,734 3,621 14,355
PW SCHAFER 10,734 3,449 14,183
S AHMAD 10,734 0 10,734
PM BRICKELL 10,734 0 10,734
L CAMERON 10,734 0 10,734
NK CHADHA 10,734 0 10,734
AA CHAUDHARY 10,734 0 10,734
B COLLIER 10,734 0 10,734
MS COLLIER 10,734 0 10,734
JH CORBETT 10,734 0 10,734
C FIBERESIMA 10,734 0 10,734
O GANGADHARAN 10,734 0 10,734
A GRIFFITHS 10,734 0 10,734
PM HOLLAND 10,734 0 10,734
KJ JENKINS 10,734 0 10,734
KR KAZI 10,734 0 10,734
JH LAGUDA 10,734 0 10,734
S MAHMOOD 10,734 0 10,734
C MCLEAN 10,734 0 10,734
P MURPHY 10,734 0 10,734
F NAZEER 10,734 0 10,734
FA NEKIWALA 10,734 0 10,734
M NICHOLAS 10,734 0 10,734
M PATEL 10,734 0 10,734
S PATEL 10,734 0 10,734
G PEARSON 10,734 0 10,734
P SATHIANESAN 10,734 0 10,734
PJ SHILLINGFORD 10,734 0 10,734
MM SKYERS 10,734 0 10,734
R TALATI 10,734 0 10,734
A TAYLOR 10,734 0 10,734
S THOMAS 10,734 0 10,734
H VIRDEE 10,734 0 10,734
Totals: 644,040 560,700 1,204,740

*net of £95 deducted at source for home use of a council-supplied computer and data registration fee

A few things worth noting:

  • 29 out of 60 councillors received some kind of ‘special responsibility allowance’ on top of their basic
  • The top 10 recipients of council cash, including the mayor, were all men
  • Only one woman, Forest Gate’s Ellie Robinson, is in the top 20 earners from councillor allowances
  • Of the 29 councillors with ‘special responsibilities’, just 6 were women
  • Including the mayor, 14 elected members got more in allowances than the average Newham household income
  • Prior to the change to the mayoral system in 2002 councillors received a basic allowance of just £533 a year

There has as yet been no public announcement about the allowances to be paid to the cabinet members and mayoral advisors Sir Robin has appointed following his re-election, but you can bet that they won’t be stinting themselves.

Public service can be so rewarding.

Where your councillors live

3 Jun

Councillors map

A map showing where the 60 Newham councillors (red) and the mayor (blue) live.

There’s a notable clustering in the north of the borough, with less than a third of them living south of Barking Road.

Snouts in the trough – again

15 Aug

After a bit of prompting Newham has published details of the allowances and expenses paid to councillors during the financial year 2011/12.

The basic allowance paid to all councillors (except the mayor) is £10,829 per annum, less a £60 fee for using their council laptop for personal use and a £35 data protection registration fee. Around half of the council also receive additional ‘special responsibility’ allowances. 

In total our 61 councillors raked in £1,210,323 in allowances last year. That’s an average of £19,841 each.

The table below shows the top dozen earners on the council.

RA WALES (Mayor)  81,029
AR BAIKIE  46,389
IK CORBETT  42,811
LT HUDSON  42,111
U DESAI  41,776
C MCAULEY  41,776
A KELLAWAY  37,635
CW FURNESS  37,291
JH LAGUDA  33,499
Q PEPPIATT  29,358


It is worth bearing a couple of things in mind while looking at this list:

Firstly, ordinary Newham people earn the second lowest wages in London at just £29,518 a year. A dozen councillors earn that or more just from their allowances, never mind any additional income they enjoy from their regular jobs.

Secondly, as recently as 2002 the basic allowance for councillors in Newham was just £533 a year. As council leader Robin Wales received an additional special responsibility allowance of £16,631. That scheme was replaced as soon as Sir Robin became mayor, when allowances rocketed to over £9,000 for councillors and £65,000 for the elected mayor.

Things have only got worse (or better, if you are lucky enough to be among the favoured few) since then.

A copy of the full report, listing all councillors, can be downloaded from the Newham website.