Thurrock Councillors: Absenteeism: One Rule For You, Another For Them

NEARLY each and every organisation in the borough has strict rules on attendance and absenteeism. Ofsted demands that students have a 95% attendance rate in schools Major companies such as ASDA and Boots have traffic lights systems to monitor absenteeism. Indeed, Thurrock Council reports regularly on the sickness rates of staff; councillors pledge that they are right on top of it.

So it must have been of concern for the new Chief Executive Graham Farrant that at last nights full council meeting, he looked out on acres of empty seats as 25% of the councillors failed to attend the meeting.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it was clear that by the ungodly hour of 9pm, many councillors had started to clock watch. When the adjournment debate began, six Tory councillors jumped out of their seats and scurried to the door.

The debate was interrupted by Labour councillor Terry Hipsey who described the “walkout” as “shameful”. Tory leader Garry Hague explained that they were under the impression that attendance was not compulsory.

Once again, Aveley councillor John Cowell did not attend and did not give his apologies. Councillor Cowell has now only attended one meeting in five since May.

The other councillors missing were: Julie-Ann Burkey, Andy Smith, Roisin Hewitt, Ian Harrison, Sue MacPherson, Rob Gledhill, John Purkiss, Emma Colgate and Val-Morris-Cook.

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