WHO are Dorset Council’s best attenders at meetings?

You might have thought that the ten members of the cabinet would feature, but none of them are on the top ten although they do attend many meetings which are not public and not recorded for attendance purposes.

The latest official figures from January 16th to July 10th, show some surprising results – topping the list is west and southern area planning committee chair Simon Christopher (Con) from Marshwood Vale with 11 out of 12 attendances.

Close behind him is Portland’s Susan Cocking (Ind) with 10 out of 11 although for good measure she can add one more committee which she did not need to attend to bring her total to 11;  Also on 10, out of 12, is Sherborne’s Matthew Hall (Lib Dem), who also put in appearances at two other committees he did not need to attend, arguably putting him at No 1 with Lib Dem opposition group leader Nick Ireland from Owermoigne who has attended 10 out of his 11 possibles, with three other committees he did not need to attend as well giving both an overall total of 14.

Other top attenders are Weymouth Radipole’s David Gray (Lib Dem) with 9 out of 12 and two ‘extras’; Chickerell’s Jean Dunseith (Con) with 8 out of 10 and two ‘extras’ as well; South East Purbeck’s Cllr Cherry Brooks (Con) with 8 out of 8 and two extras and Cllr Bill Pipe, (Con), from Lytchett Matravers and Upton with 8 out of 12 and one extra.

Many councillors have attended 6 or 7 meetings between mid-January and July 10.

At the other end of the scale are those with a hundred per cent attendance record, although low numbers because they have only been placed on only one, or two committees.

Cllr Rod Adkins, Ferndown (Con),  attended his only committee meeting during the seven months, giving him a 100 per cent attendance, but also added in one extra he did not need to attend. Cllr Mike Barron (Lib Dem), Corfe Mullen attended one of his three committees; Shaftesbury’s Cllr Derek Beer (Lib Dem) one of two; Cllr Paul Harrison (Con), Corfe Mullen one of two; Cllr Ryan Hope (Lib Dem), Westham one of four; Cllr Rob Hughes (Ind), Portland, one of two; Cllr Rebecca Knox (Con), Beaminster one of three; Cllr Julie Robinson (Con), Ferndown one of two and Cllr Maria Roe (Lib Dem) Colehill and Wimborne Minster, one of two.

Reasons for non-attendance are not given but it is known that some councillors have been shielding since the end of March and others have had illness or family issues which has taken them away from their duties.

Councillors are paid an annual allowance of £13,000 a year to meet their expenses and are also able to claim out of pocket expenses such as mileage at 45p a mile. Further payments are made for committee posts and Cabinet positions with a typical cabinet member able to claim around £23,000 a year. Not all councillors do claim their allowances.

The full list for all 82 councillors can be seen on the Dorset Council website.