‘Missing’ Councillor explains his role

Councillor Patrick Davey is one of the three City & Hunslet ward members recently lampooned in an anonymous poster. South Leeds Life talked to him about his work as a councillor.

Cllr Patrick Davey
Cllr Patrick Davey

Cllr Davey reeled off a host of issues he has been involved with since he was first elected in May 2007. These include: land-locking various sites to prevent traveller settlements; the compulsory purchase of a derelict house in the Springfields; new playgrounds at the Arthingtons and Church Street; new walls, gates, doors along Tempest Road; enabling Kashmiri Muslim Welfare Association to purchase Catherine Grove site and many more.

He picks up all sorts of case work from constituents and reckons to have dealt with over 8,000 cases. But he points out that this is just a part of the role of a Councillor that takes up an average of 20 hours per week.

“I would say my work is split 35% meetings and 65% casework, though of course attending residents meetings then generates more casework. It’s very rare I leave a residents meeting with no actions.

“With regards city-wide versus ward specific issues, because my ward is so different as it includes the city centre a lot of ward specific decisions have a city-wide impact. For example the new Victoria Gate/John Lewis development and Leeds Arena are in the ward. So this evening I had a meeting with officers to discuss proposals for new housing in the Garnets which is very ward specific, but tomorrow I’m in sitting on the Scrutiny board for Sustainable economy were we are looking at things such as provision of Jobshops across the city. Then on Wednesday I have a meeting about The Grand Theatre & City Varieties which are both in my ward but obviously have city-wide appeal.”

City and Hunslet ward has grown significantly since the last boundary change from approximately 15,000 adults to 25,000 today. Most of this growth has been in the city centre.

WantedPatrick accepts that he doesn’t live in the ward, but says “In this age of technology people can and do contact me by phone and email. We do street surgeries, people know when I carry out my surgeries so they can find me. If someone needs to see me immediately I’m more than happy to visit.”

Finally, we asked him about those posters:

“I did not take the criticism personally and putting aside that the comment is just not true it did make me smile” he said. “But my challenge to ‘Bill Poster’ is has he ever tried to contact me?”

You can contact Patrick Davey on (0113) 261 0465 or email him at patrick.davey@leeds.gov.uk.

Details of surgeries are on our Councillors page and you can read his register of interests on the Council website.

5 Replies to “‘Missing’ Councillor explains his role”

  1. I find it intriguing that the significant majority of Labour councillors do not live in the wards that they purport to represent.

    Call me cynical if you like, but is it intended to give the general public less access to their councillors?

    One thing that disappointed me was the apparent requirement for Morley councillors to be based in the city centre – when they were doing a perfectly good job in Morley Town Hall, and do an excellent job for the area?

  2. I’m not convinced that the issue with not living in the ward is about accessibility to councilors, but rather about truly knowing, understanding and needing change in the issues that face residents in our community. I like to think I’m a compassionate and caring person but if I’m honest I’m not that bothered about community life and the challenges facing those living in bramhope because I don’t live there. I need to see certain things change in the city and Hunslet ward because they directly affect me and my neighbours.

    Oh and as an aside, I have emailed councillor Davey a few times and I’m still waiting to hear back.

  3. I think the two dovetail quite nicely, in all honesty.

    If you don’t live in that particular ward, you aren’t as accountable as someone that does, unfortunately voting is very tribal, and in areas like South Leeds, the Labour party benefit from this.

    How else can you explain the fact that Bill Birch stood several times in Beeston and never got anywhere near being elected, despite being a respected member of the community, and more than likely a superior councillor to those that have been imposed upon the area by Labour (Adam Ogilvie aside).

    Additionally, councillors are whipped, just like MPs are. They’re told how to vote. Two points here I suppose….

    1. Why stand in an area that you don’t live in, or have any connections to?

    2. To represent people you have to know their views and vote accordingly….

    The only way to get real change in Leeds is to boot out the complacent Labour council, who have taken the area (in particular South Leeds) for granted, knowing that more likely than not they’ll be elected with a significant majority.

    The Conservatives aren’t even bothering in the area – their Beeston candidate spends most of his campaigning time with Andrea Jenkyns, who is standing against Ed Balls.

  4. I hesitate before writing this, because I don’t like being negative about people. (Ask anyone who knows me.) Also, it doesn’t feel very much in the Christmas spirit. But I can’t not comment.
    I presume Patrick’s probably a nice enough guy – but I’m sorry to say that I seriously don’t buy his response here. I think it’s pure and simple bluff before his election next year.
    I’m pretty involved in lots of community projects and events here in City and Hunslet, and I have to say those mischievous ‘missing’ posters really resonated with my experience (or lack of) of the three councillors over the past 10+ years. I used to email them about stuff, but (like Mark, above) got very little response back. (I think Elizabeth replied once or twice, but never the other two – not once.) So I gave up bothering to email them, and I know others who’ve done exactly the same.
    What’s more, the three of them show very very little interest in local projects, activities or events. They’re very rarely around in the community: I think I’ve actually seen Patrick in the flesh no more than 3 or 4 times in 10 years. He seems particularly absent from local meetings, such as those of the Tenants and Residents Associations and Area Committee (now Community Committee) – maybe it’s a coincidence, but I’ve certainly never seen him at one. And I’ve never met anyone who’s had a single bit of casework done by Patrick – very few people have even heard of him.
    So it’s always seemed to me that they are very absent and inactive – but maybe like lots of people, I assumed that they must be doing something, somewhere…
    But those posters really demonstrated that actually a lot of people locally seem to feel the same way. The posters stirred up an incredible amount of conversation. And even more incredibly, everyone seems to agree with the posters: community leaders, people running projects and groups, a wide range of regular residents… and even – I was surprised to find out – many Labour party members, locally and from elsewhere in the city.
    Also, of all the articles online about the posters (here on South Leeds Life, the YEP, Leeds Citizen, etc), lots of people added comments – most of them critical of the councillors. I only saw one single person speak out in defence of the three councillors, and that was on behalf of Elizabeth Nash for something she did in Bramley 15 years ago.
    People are disappointed, fed up, and even angry at the neglectful approach that the councillors take to this, our community. (Although interestingly, some people are understandably worried to say so publicly, in case it jeopardises their relationship with and in some cases funding from the Council – which is a notable dynamic in itself.)
    Local councillors can be such a force for good in their communities – I could point to several examples. Here in City and Hunslet, there’s lots of good stuff going on, some great people, but also many challenges – and we really need good leadership. I think the current councillors have utterly failed to do that over the past 10 years. Judging by previous elections, I can assure you that Patrick will be around in the community over the next few months, trying to appear present and active – but then the election will come, and once again he’ll be nowhere to be seen. Our community deserves better.
    (Again, sorry for being so completely negative – but it had to be said. Maybe things can change. In the meantime, happy Christmas all…)

    1. I am absolute agreed with Ed…I have tried to contact Cllr Elizabeth Nash regarding the Grade II* listed building Hunslet Mill in a derelict state with opened roof. I have written to Cllr Nash twice with no reply. I then submit my complaint to Governance Services Unit then I able to track her down with a reply said that she will pass on my concerns back to City Council bureaucracy circle again with no further action…

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