You might think I’m biased given my 13+ years as a Councillor, but I guarantee that your local Councillors are the hardest working elected members in our party.
It’s all well and good setting policies and passing laws in Parliament, but it’s our local Councillors who are responsible for deciding how to deliver services locally, and holding to account the highly paid officers in our Councils who have operational responsibility.
It can be a thankless job, but for whatever reason, we all enjoy it. Trust me, you wouldn’t take the public abuse and constant stress the job brings if you didn’t enjoy making a real difference in your community.
In my current role as West Dunbartonshire Council’s Leader, I have good relationships with all of our SNP elected members, but my experience has led me to the conclusion we need more joined up thinking, and I believe my unique perspective allows me to facilitate that.
In addition to my promises to every party member, I have specific commitments to make to our SNP Councillors across the West Scotland region.
- Where invited, I will happily attend Council group meetings or other meetings with Councillors to offer whatever support I can. I won’t always be able to make it when I have to be in Parliament, but if a Council group wants to meet me we’ll make it happen.
- Every Councillor will have my personal number. I’ve been so lucky having such a good relationship with Gil Paterson MSP. I can pick up the phone any time and he’ll answer or get back to me the same day. I make the same promise to all of our Councillors across the West Scotland region.
- I will not issue any press releases that have any connection to the Council without the expressed permission of the Council Group or at the very least where it’s time sensitive, the Council Group Leader.
- I will take every opportunity I can to promote local Councillors and the work they do. We all know there are rules governing the political activity of Parliamentarians, but I don’t need to use my office to raise the profile of the SNP locally.
- My office will be available to Councillors to get information on party policy/media lines and briefings on issues being raised in Council that are linked to the work of the Scottish Parliament/Government.
- As your MSP, I will be available to hold joint surgeries with any Councillor who wishes to do this, either regularly or on an ad-hoc basis.