I believe people are entitled to high standards of behaviour from their representatives. In undertaking my duties as a councillor I have always asked myself what, as a member of the public, I would want from someone who was representing me and I have tried to behave in-line with those expectations. With that in mind, here is my record:
Guarding the Public Purse
To prevent local government only being open to those who either no longer work or who can afford to take the time off work, councillors are paid an allowance. This is assessed by an independent panel based on their researching the time commitment required for each area of responsibility on the council.
I have accepted allowances in order to pay for some of the time I contribute towards public duties. However, I also don’t believe that it is right to be putting up those allowances when budgets are tight and sacrifices are being demanded from others: http://www.wscountytimes.co.uk/news/increase-in-county-councillors-allowances-stinks-1-5603754
Since becoming a councillor I have opted-out of increases, so that the money could instead be used for local services. Few others do likewise. I have also encouraged those independent panels to take a hard line on what compensation is really needed to ensure that the costs to the public are kept low, voting to remove allowances when given the option: http://www.susyradio.com/2016/03/16/crawley-councillors-allowances/
Details on the level of allowances and expenses paid out by West Sussex County Council can be found here: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/about-the-council/county-councillors/councillor-allowances-and-expenses/
Details on the Crawley Borough Council’s Allowances scheme is available here: http://www.crawley.gov.uk/pw/Council_Services_and_Democracy/Councillors__MPs_and_Mayor/MembersAllowancesandExpenses/index.htm
I have never claimed any expenses (travel, subsistence, etc.) as either a Crawley Borough Councillor or West Sussex County Councillor. I was the only West Sussex County Councillor in the area not to claim for travel to County Hall in Chichester.
The county council also provides councillors with free food at meetings, ranging from biscuits to a two-course sit down meal. I asked to be billed annually for the cost of the food the council had provided for me at the meetings and paid it back in full. I believe I am the only West Sussex County Councillor who has ever done so.
At the time we regained control of Crawley Borough Council food was being provided for free in the Members’ kitchen. I had this practice stopped and turned the kitchen into a study.
I have always tried to turn down equipment offered at public expense. I have no council phone, tablet, computer or electronic equipment of any other kind.
I have always worked hard to attend every committee to which I was appointed, including in years when I had the most committee appointments of any councillor.
Attendance records for county councillors can be found here: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/about-the-council/county-councillors/councillors-records-of-attendance/
In four years on West Sussex County Council I missed only five meetings, three of which were due to their clashing with other meetings I had to attend in my capacity as a council leader.
Since 2013, I have maintained a one hundred percent attendance rate on Crawley Borough Council. In the council years commencing 2010, 2011 and 2012, my attendance rate on Crawley Borough Council was not one hundred percent but it was still one of the highest on the authority.
I have never had any Standards complaint upheld against me in my time on any public body. To my knowledge, no complaint has even been registered against me.
In the interests of transparency, I agreed to my interests being published online before a change in the rules made it mandatory. A copy of my Declaration of Interests can be found on my Crawley Borough Council page, here: http://www.crawley.gov.uk/pw/Council_Services_and_Democracy/Councillors__MPs_and_Mayor/WardCouncillors/PUB242038