Thursday, 10 March 2011

Representative Democracy

An interesting piece in the Guardian today about the social economic grouping of local councillors.

It says that 16% of councillors are aged between 35 and 49, while 34% were over 65. The average age of councillors is 59.

In terms of employment 69% of all councillors who are in employment have managerial or professional backgrounds (43% of all councillors are retired).

Additional to council work, councillors who are school governor amounts to 42% down from 59% in 1997 Other unpaid voluntary work 51% down from 57% in 1997, the average councillor does 22 hours a week on council work.

Only 3% of councillors have trade apprentices 66% are educated to managerial levels .

This is quite understandable, for example how many employers welcome local councillors taking time off in the middle of a working day or workers using their holiday entitlement to attend meetings?

I am fortunate, I'm single and happy to use my holiday entitlement to attend day time off when required, I do not have children to worry about and evenings are my own, so I enjoy community work, albeit the frustrations of the process of local government.

The pressures of work and family must make it difficult for under 50 yr olds to participate in local government, the electorate probably are unaware of these difficulties, without changes and if power really does devolve to communities - and assuming local government wields that power - then the white, elderly, male, middle-class professionals will dominate Town Halls.

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