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Councillor kicked off committee slams culture of waste

11 Jun 2024 5 minute read
Conwy Council building in Colwyn Bay

Richard Evans Local Democracy Reporter

An independent councillor is furious to lose his place on a health committee to make room for a member of the political group. Councillor David Carr, who ran his own care agency, has sat on Conwy County Council’s health scrutiny committee for two years, since his election in 2022.

But Cllr Carr says he has now been ordered to give up his seat so it can be filled by a member of the Conwy First Independent Group. The seats on scrutiny committees are offered to political parties depending on each party’s representation on the council.

But now the Conwy First Independent Group – itself made up of grouped together independent councillors – is opting to take up its allocation of seats on the health committee – at the expense of Cllr Carr.

Taking aim

It has prompted an outraged Cllr Carr to take aim at the council accusing it of wasting money, cutting services, and appointing unneeded staff on high salaries.

He has now turned to Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders for support – with the MS now vowing to take the matter to the Electoral Commission.

A council spokeswoman said “committee membership needs to be politically balanced in accordance with legislative requirements”.

Cllr Carr explained to the local democracy reporting service how he lost his seat on the committee: “If you are not a member of a group, if there are spare seats (on the committees) the groups have not taken up, you are offered them, and I was offered a seat on the social care committee. But the Independent First Group have (now) decided to take their allocation of seats.

“The committee looks at social care, and I’ve asked questions because of my background. I’ve been an owner of a care agency. I’ve been a manager of a domiciliary care agency. I’ve managed a residential home. During the pandemic, I came back and worked 50 hours as a frontline support worker a week, and I was in my mid-60s. So I have given so much, but the council don’t like any opposition.”


Cllr Carr said he refused to join up with the Conwy First Independent Group, the council’s biggest party grouping, because he was unhappy with the council’s direction. The Colwyn councillor said money was being wasted on high salary, unneeded bureaucratic positions whilst basic services were being cut.

He said: “I’m very disappointed, but I’m not surprised because they don’t want any opposition on the council. If you stand for council, you should be offered places on committees.

“I wouldn’t join the First Independents because of the way the council is going. It’s cutting frontline services. The weeds aren’t being done now, and that is going to cost more money in the long run with all the damage to infrastructure. They are cutting frontline services and creating these jobs that don’t exist.

“Conwy has actually appointed someone whose sole job is to make contact with the town councils’ clerks. These are just bureaucratic jobs. They are wasting money. They are creating bureaucratic jobs that are not essential. These jobs are nothing to do with frontline services. They are for people to work at home on high salaries.

“I went to a meeting in Coed Pella on Monday. The place was half empty. It always is. If you’ve got a working from home policy, it is never going to be full, is it? It was between 30-50% full. It is no where near capacity, is it? There are little groups of people dotted around.

“The council is going on the wrong track where it is cutting frontline services. They are not cutting the weeds. They should be doing that three times a year, once in the spring and then two follow ups. It is going to cost more in the long run with drains getting blocked. We’ve got road signs being obscured.

“But they create too many jobs. I really object to the fact they’ve appointed another housing manager on a £100,000 salary. That’s not against the person, but we didn’t need another £100,000 spent on another manager.”


He added: “On the social services committee, I asked the question about telecare (homecare scheme for the elderly and vulnerable). The fact they would do that (increase the service’s cost)! They are spending money on all these extra non-essential staff, rather than telecare. By taking me off the committee, they are taking that independent voice away. You are not included because you are a councillor on your own.”

Aberconwy MS Janet Finch Saunders has now vowed to take the matter to the Electoral Commission. “I think it is shocking. It is disappointing that a democratically elected councillor is not included in any of the quota of committees,” she said.

“David’s (Cllr Carr) background is in social care. It worries me that you can have 58 and one councillor can be excluded from the full democratic process of committee meetings. I will be asking the electoral commission about this.

“People do stand as an independent, but they join the groups when they become elected. David is an independent (councillor). He is not affiliated to any political group. He has nobody to support him.

“It just seems wrong to me that he was elected by the electorate, and now he finds himself in a situation where, if this goes ahead, he is ostracised from being able to attend committee meetings. He is a true independent.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Committee membership needs to be politically balanced in accordance with legislative requirements. Where there are vacant seats on a committee, they will first be offered to any non-aligned members. Following the council’s annual general meeting, there are currently no vacant seats on the social care and health scrutiny committee.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 hours ago

Drive east out of Gwynedd and the potholes start, you have my sympathy Cllr Carr…

Stephen Eley
Stephen Eley
1 hour ago

This is the first time that I can ever remember agreeing with our MS, but in this case, she is absolutely correct. I had no idea that there was a “Conwy First “ independent group, and certainly didn’t vote for it in the local elections. Political parties can not be formed post hoc, and definitely should not be allowed to form secret groups to influence committees. This is how corrupt practices are instigated.

Why vote
Why vote
2 minutes ago

An independent group of councillors won’t let an independent councillor sit on a committee?… so this is now the ‘Independent Party’ running a Council? always wondered what would happen if a group/gaggle/ pod of these independents get elected and how the would perform together and what do they do start their own political party, where are the script writers copy and paste this it will make a fantastic comedy.

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